Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals

Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals
Open Access

ISSN: 1948-5964



A Novel High-Throughput Screening Assay to Identify Inhibitors of HIV-1 gp120 Protein Interaction with DC-SIGN

Thuong H. Tran, Rasha El Baz, Andrea Cuconati, James Arthos, Pooja Jain and Zafar K. Khan

The 2010 UNAIDS report states that approximately 34 million people are living with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), despite highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). Despite being effective, ARV therapy has many disadvantages including a cost trajectory unsustainable for economically challenged countries, serious side effects, and the development of drug-resistant strains. Several measures are under way to develop alternatives for ARV therapy, particularly for the control of early HIV-1 infection, but lack of efficient drug targets and assays hinders the search of potential ARV molecules. The dendritic cells present in the mucosal tissue, together with CD4+ T lymphocytes and macrophages, are among the first cells to encounter HIV-1. The dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3-grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN) molecule plays a crucial role in binding HIV-1 through high affinity interaction with viral envelope glycoprotein gp120. DC-SIGN, a mannose-binding C-type lectin expressed on cells in the mucosal tissue of the rectum, uterus and cervix, facilitates early HIV-1 infection after sexual transmission. In this study we report a novel target-specific high-throughput screening (HTS) assay capable of quantifying the binding as well as the inhibition of DC-SIGN and gp120. The specificity of the assay was determined through competitive inhibition while optimization occurred for DMSO tolerance (0.5%), Z’ factor (0.51), signal-to-noise ratio (3.26), and coefficient of variation (5.1%). For assay validation previously recognized antagonists of DC-SIGN/gp120 binding were tested to detect inhibition demonstrating the suitability of the assay for future HTS screen of potential inhibitors that block the binding between DC-SIGN and gp120 which may prevent early HIV-1 infection.