Recent Publication

The High Content of Fructose in Human Semen Competitively Inhibits Broad and Potent Antivirals that Target High-mannose Glycans


Semen is the primary transmission vehicle for various pathogenic viruses. Initial steps of transmission, including cell attachment and entry, likely occur in the presence of semen. However, the unstable nature of human seminal plasma and its toxic effects on cells in culture limit the in vitro study of virus infection and inhibition in this medium. We found that whole semen significantly reduces the potency of antibodies and microbicides that target glycans on the envelope glycoproteins (Envs) of HIV-1. The extraordinarily high concentration of the monosaccharide fructose in semen contributes significantly to the effect by competitively inhibiting binding of ligands to α1,2-linked mannose residues on Env. Infection and inhibition in whole human semen are accurately mimicked by a stable synthetic simulant of seminal fluid we formulated. Our findings indicate that, in addition to the protein content of biological secretions, their small-solute composition impacts the potency of antiviral microbicides and mucosal antibodies.

  • Johnson J, Flores MG, Rosa J, Han C, Salvi AM, DeMali KA, Jagnow JR, Sparks A, Haim H