We tested the ability of 20 synthetic θ defensins to protect cells from infection by type 1 and type 2 herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and -2, respectively). The peptides included rhesus θ defensins (RTDs) 1 to 3, originally isolated from rhesus macaque leukocytes, and three peptides (retrocyclins 1 to 3) whose sequences were inferred from human θ-defensin (DEFT) pseudogenes. We also tested 14 retrocyclin analogues, including the retro, enantio, and retroenantio forms of retrocyclin 1. Retrocyclins 1 and 2 and RTD 3 protected cervical epithelial cells from infection by both HSV serotypes, but only retrocyclin 2 did so without causing cytotoxicity or requiring preincubation with the virus. Surface plasmon resonance studies revealed that retrocyclin 2 bound to immobilized HSV-2 glycoprotein B (gB2) with high affinity (Kd, 13.3 nM) and that it did not bind to enzymatically deglycosylated gB2. Temperature shift experiments indicated that retrocyclin 2 and human α defensins human neutrophil peptide 1 (HNP 1) to HNP 3 protected human cells from HSV-2 by different mechanisms. Retrocyclin 2 blocked viral attachment, and its addition during the binding or penetration phases of HSV-2 infection markedly diminished nuclear translocation of VP16 and expression of ICP4. In contrast, HNPs 1 to 3 had little effect on binding but reduced both VP16 transport and ICP4 expression if added during the postbinding (penetration) period. We recently reported that θ defensins are miniature lectins that bind gp120 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) with high affinity and inhibit the entry of R5 and X4 isolates of HIV-1. Given its small size (18 residues), minimal cytotoxicity, lack of activity against vaginal lactobacilli, and effectiveness against both HSV-2 and HIV-1, retrocyclin 2 provides an intriguing prototype for future topical microbicide development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science