Here, we applied the designed ankyrin repeat protein (DARPin) technology to develop novel gp120-directed binding molecules with HIV entry-inhibiting capacity. DARPins are interesting molecules for HIV envelope inhibitor design, as their high-affinity binding differs from that of antibodies. DARPins in general prefer epitopes with a defined folded structure. We probed whether this capacity favors the selection of novel gp120-reactive molecules with specificities in epitope recognition and inhibitory activity that differ from those found among neutralizing antibodies. The preference of DARPins for defined structures was notable in our selections, since of the four gp120 modifications probed as selection targets, gp120 arrested by CD4 ligation proved the most successful. Of note, all the gp120-specific DARPin clones with HIV-neutralizing activity isolated recognized their target domains in a conformation-dependent manner. This was particularly pronounced for the V3 loop-specific DARPin 5m3_D12. In stark contrast to V3-specific antibodies, 5m3_D12 preferentially recognized the V3 loop in a specific conformation, as probed by structurally arrested V3 mimetic peptides, but bound linear V3 peptides only very weakly. Most notably, this conformation-dependent V3 recognition allowed 5m3_D12 to bypass the V1V2 shielding of several tier 2 HIV isolates and to neutralize these viruses. These data provide a proof of concept that the DARPin technology holds promise for the development of HIV entry inhibitors with a unique mechanism of action.
This chapter summarizes advances in the following areas: (1) dendritic cell (DC)-mediated simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) transmission, (2) role of DCs in innate and adaptive immunity against SIV, and (3) approaches to harness DC function to induce anti-SIV responses. The nonhuman primate (NHP) model of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in rhesus macaques and other Asian NHP species is highly relevant to advance the understanding of virus–host interactions critical for transmission and disease pathogenesis. HIV infection is associated with changes in frequency, phenotype, and function of the two principal subsets of DCs, myeloid DCs and plasmacytoid DCs. DC biology during pathogenic SIV infection is strikingly similar to that observed in HIV-infected patients. The NHP models provide an opportunity to dissect the requirements for DC-driven SIV infection and to understand how SIV distorts the DC system to its advantage. Furthermore, the SIV model of mucosal transmission enables the study of the earliest events of infection at the portal of entry that cannot be studied in humans, and, importantly, the involvement of DCs. Nonpathogenic infection in African NHP hosts allows investigations into the role of DCs in disease control. Understanding how DCs are altered during SIV infection is critical to the design of therapeutic and preventative strategies against HIV.
We previously showed that a prototype gel comprising zinc acetate (ZA) in carrageenan (CG) protected mice against vaginal and rectal herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) challenge as well as macaques against vaginal simian-human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) challenge. In this work, we modified buffers and cosolvents to obtain a stable, nearly iso-osmolal formulation and evaluated its safety and efficacy against SHIV-RT and HSV-2. In vitro toxicity to lactobacilli and Candida albicans was determined. Macaques were given daily doses of ZA and CG (ZA/CG) or CG alone vaginally for 14 days and challenged with SHIV-RT 24 h later. Mice were challenged vaginally or rectally with HSV-2 immediately after a single gel treatment to measure efficacy or vaginally 12 h after daily gel treatment for 7 days to evaluate the gel's impact on susceptibility to HSV-2 infection. The modified ZA/CG neither affected the viability of lactobacilli or C. albicans nor enhanced vaginal HSV-2 infection after daily ZA/CG treatment. Vaginal SHIV-RT infection of macaques was reduced by 66% (P = 0.006) when macaques were challenged 24 h after the last dose of gel. We observed 60% to 80% uninfected mice after vaginal (P < 0.0001) and rectal (P = 0.008) high-dose HSV-2 challenge. The modified ZA/CG gel is safe and effective in animal models and represents a potential candidate to limit the transmission of HIV and HSV-2.
Previously we showed that repeated vaginal application of a MIV-150/zinc acetate carrageenan (MIV-150/ZA/CG) gel and a zinc acetate carrageenan (ZA/CG) gel significantly protected macaques from vaginal simian human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT) infection. Gels were applied either daily for 2 weeks or every other day for 4 weeks, and the animals were challenged 4–24 h later. Herein, we examined the effects of a single vaginal dose administered either before or after virus challenge. Encouraged by the vaginal protection seen with MIV-150/ZA/CG, we also tested it rectally. Vaginal applications of MIV-150/ZA/CG, ZA/CG, and CG gel were performed once 8–24 h before, 1 h after, or 24 h before and 1 h after vaginal challenge. Rectal applications of MIV-150/ZA/CG and CG gel were performed once 8 or 24 h before rectal challenge. While vaginal pre-challenge and pre/post-challenge application of MIV-150/ZA/CG gel offered significant protection (88%, p<0.002), post-challenge application alone did not significantly protect. ZA/CG gel reduced infection prechallenge, but not significantly, and the effect was completely lost post-challenge. Rectal application of MIV-150/ZA/CG gel afforded limited protection against rectal challenge when applied 8–24 h before challenge. Thus, MIV-150/ZA/CG gel is a highly effective vaginal microbicide that demonstrates 24 h of protection from vaginal infection and may demonstrate efficacy against rectal infection when given close to the time of HIV exposure.
We previously showed that a carrageenan (CG) gel containing 50 μM MIV-150 (MIV-150/CG) reduced vaginal simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)-RT infection of macaques (56%, p>0.05) when administered daily for 2 weeks with the last dose given 8 h before challenge. Additionally, when 100 mg of MIV-150 was loaded into an intravaginal ring (IVR) inserted 24 h before challenge and removed 2 weeks after challenge, >80% protection was observed (p<0.03). MIV-160 is a related NNRTI with a similar IC50, greater aqueous solubility, and a shorter synthesis. To objectively compare MIV-160 with MIV-150, herein we evaluated the antiviral effects of unformulated MIV-160 in vitro as well as the in vivo protection afforded by MIV-160 delivered in CG (MIV-160/CG gel) and in an IVR under regimens used with MIV-150 in earlier studies. Like MIV-150, MIV-160 exhibited potent antiviral activity against SHIV-RT in macaque vaginal explants. However, formulated MIV-160 exhibited divergent effects in vivo. The MIV-160/CG gel offered no protection compared to CG alone, whereas the MIV-160 IVRs protected significantly. Importantly, the results of in vitro release studies of the MIV-160/CG gel and the MIV-160 IVR suggested that in vivo efficacy paralleled the amount of MIV-160 released in vitro. Hundreds of micrograms of MIV-160 were released daily from IVRs while undetectable amounts of MIV-160 were released from the CG gel. Our findings highlight the importance of testing different modalities of microbicide delivery to identify the optimal formulation for efficacy in vivo.
Over-the-counter personal lubricants are used frequently during vaginal and anal intercourse, but they have not been extensively tested for biological effects that might influence HIV transmission. We evaluated the in vitro toxicity anti-HIV-1 activity and osmolality of popular lubricants. A total of 41 lubricants were examined and compared to Gynol II and Carraguard as positive and negative controls for toxicity, respectively. Cytotoxicity was assessed using the XTT assay. The MAGI assay with R5 and X4 HIV-1 laboratory strains was used to evaluate antiviral activity. The effect of the lubricants on differentiated Caco-2 cell monolayers (transepithelial electrical resistance, TEER) was also measured. None of the lubricants tested showed significant activity against HIV-1. Surprisingly, four of them, Astroglide Liquid, Astroglide Warming Liquid, Astroglide Glycerin & Paraben-Free Liquid, and Astroglide Silken Secret, significantly enhanced HIV-1 replication (p<0.0001). A common ingredient in three of these preparations is polyquaternium-15. In vitro testing of a chemically related compound (MADQUAT) confirmed that this similarly augmented HIV-1 replication. Most of the lubricants were found to be hyperosmolar and the TEER value dropped approximately 60% 2 h after exposure to all lubricants tested. Cells treated with Carraguard, saline, and cell controls maintained about 100% initial TEER value after 2–6 h. We have identified four lubricants that significantly increase HIV-1 replication in vitro. In addition, the epithelial damage caused by these and many other lubricants may have implications for enhancing HIV transmission in vivo. These data emphasize the importance of performing more rigorous safety testing on these products.
Topical microbicides that block the sexual transmission of HIV and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) are desperately needed to reduce the incidence of HIV infections worldwide. Previously we completed phase 3 testing of the carrageenan-based gel Carraguard. Although the trial did not show that Carraguard is effective in preventing HIV transmission during vaginal sex, it did show that Carraguard is safe when used weekly for up to 2 years. Moreover, Carraguard has in vitro activity against human papillomavirus (HPV) and HSV-2 and favorable physical and rheological properties, which makes it a useful vehicle to deliver antiviral agents such as zinc acetate. To that end, we previously reported that a prototype zinc acetate carrageenan gel protects macaques against vaginal challenge with combined simian-human immunodeficiency virus reverse transcriptase (SHIV-RT). Herein, we report the safety and efficacy of a series of zinc acetate and/or carrageenan gels. The gels protected mice (75 to 85% survival; P < 0.001) against high-dose (106-PFU) HSV-2 vaginal or rectal challenge. In contrast, zinc acetate formulated in HEC (hydroxyethylcellulose; or the Universal Placebo) failed to protect mice against the high-dose vaginal HSV-2 challenge (similar to aqueous zinc acetate solution and the placebo controls). The gels were found to be effective spreading gels, exhibited limited toxicity in vitro, caused minimal damage to the architecture of the cervicovaginal and rectal mucosae in vivo, and induced no increased susceptibility to HSV-2 infection in a mouse model. Our results provide a strong rationale to further optimize and evaluate the zinc acetate/carrageenan gels for their ability to block the sexual transmission of HIV and HSV-2.
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) increases the risk of HIV-1 infection and, although several reports describe the interaction between these two viruses, the exact mechanism for this increased susceptibility remains unclear. Dendritic cells (DCs) at the site of entry of HSV-2 and HIV-1 contribute to viral spread in the mucosa. Specialized DCs present in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues produce retinoic acid (RA), an important immunomodulator, able to influence HIV-1 replication and a key mediator of integrin α4β7 on lymphocytes. α4β7 can be engaged by HIV-1 on the cell-surface and CD4+ T cells expressing high levels of this integrin (α4β7high) are particularly susceptible to HIV-1 infection. Herein we provide in-vivo data in macaques showing an increased percentage of α4β7high CD4+ T cells in rectal mucosa, iliac lymph nodes and blood within 6 days of rectal exposure to live (n = 11), but not UV-treated (n = 8), HSV-2. We found that CD11c+ DCs are a major target of HSV-2 infection in in-vitro exposed PBMCs. We determined that immature monocyte-derived DCs (moDCs) express aldehyde dehydrogenase ALDH1A1, an enzyme essential for RA production, which increases upon HSV-2 infection. Moreover, HSV-2-infected moDCs significantly increase α4β7 expression on CD4+ T lymphocytes and HIV-1 infection in DC-T cell mixtures in a RA-dependent manner. Thus, we propose that HSV-2 modulates its microenviroment, influencing DC function, increasing RA production capability and amplifying a α4β7highCD4+ T cells. These factors may play a role in increasing the susceptibility to HIV-1.
The vast majority of HIV-1 infections occur through genital and rectal mucosa. A better understanding of the characteristics of the mucosal microenvironment that help HIV-1 replication is critical to developing strategies for prevention of HIV-1 transmission. HSV-2 infects genital and rectal mucosa and infected individuals carry an increased risk for HIV-1 infection. Clarifying the mechanisms involved in the increased susceptibility of HSV-2 positive individuals to HIV-1 infection may help understating the characteristics of mucosal microenvironment that facilitate HIV-1 transmission. We previously described a specific interaction between HIV-1 and integrin α4β7, a signature molecule that allows lymphocytes to gain access to the gut tissue, a major site of HIV-1 replication. Vitamin A and its metabolite, retinoic acid, have an important role in balancing the immune response in the gut and in the expression of integrin α4β7. Here we describe that HSV-2 rectal infection in monkeys increases the frequency of α4β7+ CD4+ T cells in blood and rectal tissue and that this could be at least partially explained by the ability of HSV-2 infected DCs to secrete retinoic acid and up-regulate α4β7 on CD4+ T cells. These phenomena could be responsible for increasing HIV-1 replication in DC-T cell co-cultures.
Repeated use, coitus-independent microbicide gels that do not contain antiretroviral agents also used as first line HIV therapy are urgently needed to curb HIV spread. Current formulations require high doses (millimolar range) of antiretroviral drugs and typically only provide short-term protection in macaques. We used the macaque model to test the efficacy of a novel combination microbicide gel containing zinc acetate and micromolar doses of the novel non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor MIV-150 for up to 24 h after repeated gel application.
Methods and Findings
Rhesus macaques were vaginally challenged with SHIV-RT up to 24 h after repeated administration of microbicide versus placebo gels. Infection status was determined by measuring virologic and immunologic parameters. Combination microbicide gels containing 14 mM zinc acetate dihydrate and 50 µM MIV-150 afforded full protection (21 of 21 animals) for up to 24 h after 2 weeks of daily application. Partial protection was achieved with the MIV-150 gel (56% of control at 8 h after last application, 11% at 24 h), while the zinc acetate gel afforded more pronounced protection (67% at 8–24 h). Marked protection persisted when the zinc acetate or MIV-150/zinc acetate gels were applied every other day for 4 weeks prior to challenge 24 h after the last gel was administered (11 of 14 protected). More MIV-150 was associated with cervical tissue 8 h after daily dosing of MIV-150/zinc acetate versus MIV-150, while comparable MIV-150 levels were associated with vaginal tissues and at 24 h.
A combination MIV-150/zinc acetate gel and a zinc acetate gel provide significant protection against SHIV-RT infection for up to 24 h. This represents a novel advancement, identifying microbicides that do not contain anti-viral agents used to treat HIV infection and which can be used repeatedly and independently of coitus, and underscores the need for future clinical testing of their safety and ability to prevent HIV transmission in humans.
While mucosal responses are important for preventing infections with HIV, the optimal strategies for inducing them remain unclear. To evaluate vaccine strategies targeting the oral mucosal lymphoid tissue inductive sites as an approach to provide immunity at distal sites, we vaccinated healthy macaques via the palatine/lingual tonsils with aldrithiol 2 (AT-2) inactivated SIVmac239, combined with CpG-C immunostimulatory oligonucleotide (CpG-C ISS-ODN , C274) as the adjuvant. Macaques received 5 doses of C274 or control ODN C661 and AT-2 SIV on the tonsillar tissues every 6 weeks before being challenged rectally with SIVmac239, 8 weeks after the last immunization. Although no T or B cell responses were detected in the blood prior to challenge, Ab responses were detected in the rectum . Immunization with AT-2 SIV significantly reduced the frequency of infection compared to non-immunized controls, irrespective of adjuvant. In the vaccinated animals that became infected, peak viremias were somewhat reduced. SIV-specific responses were detected in the blood once animals became infected with no detectable differences between the differently immunized groups and the controls. This work provides evidence that vaccine immunogens applied to the oral mucosal-associated lymphoid tissues can provide benefit against rectal challenge, a finding with important implications for mucosal vaccination strategies.
SIV; mucosal; vaccine; CpG ISS-ODN
HIV-infected individuals rely on antiretroviral therapy (ART) to control viral replication. Despite abundant demonstrable benefits, the multiple limitations of ART point to the potential advantages of therapeutic vaccination approaches that could provide sustained host control of viral replication after discontinuation of ART. We provide evidence from a non-human primate model that a therapeutic vaccine applied to the tonsils can maintain low viral loads after cessation of ART.
Animals received 40 weeks of ART initiated 9 weeks after rectal SIVmac239 infection. During ART, animals were vaccinated (or not) with AT-2 inactivated SIVmac239 using CpG-C ISS-ODN (C274) or polyICLC as adjuvants. PolyICLC/AT-2 SIV vaccinated animals maintained viral loads <3×103 copies/ml for up to 16 weeks post-ART, whereas the C274/AT-2 SIV vaccinated and non-vaccinated animals' viremia ranged between 1×104–4×105 copies/ml (p<0.03). Neutralizing Ab activity in plasma was increased by polyICLC/AT-2 tonsillar vaccination under ART, compared to controls (p<0.03). Subsequent vaccination of all animals with polyICLC/AT-2 SIV in the absence of ART did not alter viral loads. Other immune parameters measured in blood and tissues were comparable between groups.
These results provide support for the potential benefit of mucosally delivered vaccines in therapeutic immunization strategies for control of AIDS virus infection.
The recently described Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein (DARPin) technology can produce highly selective ligands to a variety of biological targets at a low production cost.
To investigate the in vivo use of DARPins for future application to novel anti-HIV strategies, we identified potent CD4-specific DARPins that recognize rhesus CD4 and followed the fate of intravenously injected CD4-specific DARPin 57.2 in rhesus macaques. The human CD4-specific DARPin 57.2 bound macaque CD4+ cells and exhibited potent inhibitory activity against SIV infection in vitro. DARPin 57.2 or the control E3_5 DARPin was injected into rhesus macaques and the fate of cell-free and cell-bound CD4-specific DARPin was evaluated. DARPin-bound CD4+ cells were detected in the peripheral blood as early as 30 minutes after the injection, decreasing within 6 hours and being almost undetectable within 24 hours. The amount of DARPin bound was dependent on the amount of DARPin injected. CD4-specific DARPin was also detected on CD4+ cells in the lymph nodes within 30 minutes, which persisted with similar kinetics to blood. More extensive analysis using blood revealed that DARPin 57.2 bound to all CD4+ cell types (T cells, monocytes, dendritic cells) in vivo and in vitro with the amount of binding directly proportional to the amount of CD4 on the cell surface. Cell-free DARPins were also detected in the plasma, but were rapidly cleared from circulation.
We demonstrated that the CD4-specific DARPin can rapidly and selectively bind its target cells in vivo, warranting further studies on possible clinical use of the DARPin technology.
Herpes simplex virus type-2 (HSV-2) infection enhances the transmission and acquisition of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This occurs in symptomatic and asymptomatic stages of HSV-2 infection, suggesting that obvious herpetic lesions are not required to increase HIV spread. An animal model to investigate the underlying causes of the synergistic action of the two viruses and where preventative strategies can be tested under such complex physiological conditions is currently unavailable.
We set out to establish a rhesus macaque model in which HSV-2 infection increases the susceptibility to vaginal infection with a model immunodeficiency virus (simian-human immunodeficiency virus, SHIV-RT), and to more stringently test promising microbicides. HSV-2 exposure significantly increased the frequency of vaginal SHIV-RT infection (n = 6). Although cervical lesions were detected in only ∼10% of the animals, long term HSV-2 DNA shedding was detected (in 50% of animals followed for 2 years). Vaginal HSV-2 exposure elicited local cytokine/chemokine (n = 12) and systemic low-level HSV-2-specific adaptive responses in all animals (n = 8), involving CD4+ and CD8+ HSV-specific T cells (n = 5). Local cytokine/chemokine responses were lower in co-infected animals, while simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-specific adaptive responses were comparable in naïve and HSV-2-infected animals (n = 6). Despite the increased frequency of SHIV-RT infection, a new generation microbicide gel, comprised of Carraguard® and a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor MIV-150 (PC-817), blocked vaginal SHIV-RT infection in HSV-2-exposed animals (n = 8), just as in naïve animals.
We established a unique HSV-2 macaque model that will likely facilitate research to define how HSV-2 increases HIV transmission, and enable more rigorous evaluation of candidate anti-viral approaches in vivo.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is taken up by and replicates in immature dendritic cells (imDCs), which can then transfer virus to T cells, amplifying the infection. Strategies known to boost DC function were tested for their ability to overcome this exploitation when added after HIV exposure. Poly(I:C), but not single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) or a standard DC maturation cocktail, elicited type I interferon (IFN) and interleukin-12 (IL-12) p70 production and the appearance of unique small (15- to 20-kDa) fragments of APOBEC3G (A3G) and impeded HIVBal replication in imDCs when added up to 60 h after virus exposure. Comparable effects were mediated by recombinant alpha/beta IFN (IFN-α/β). Neutralizing the anti-IFN-α/β receptor reversed poly(I:C)-induced inhibition of HIV replication and blocked the appearance of the small A3G proteins. The poly(I:C)-induced appearance of small A3G proteins was not accompanied by significant differences in A3G mRNA or A3G monomer expression. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of A3G could not be used to reverse the poly(I:C)-induced protective effect, since siRNAs nonspecifically activated the DCs, inducing the appearance of the small A3G proteins and inhibiting HIV infection. Notably, the appearance of small A3G proteins coincided with the shift of high-molecular-mass inactive A3G complexes to the low-molecular-mass (LMM) active A3G complexes. The unique immune stimulation by poly(I:C) with its antiviral effects on imDCs marked by the expression of IFN-α/β and active LMM A3G renders poly(I:C) a promising novel strategy to combat early HIV infection in vivo.
Anti-HIV microbicides are being investigated in clinical trials and understanding how promising strategies work, coincident with demonstrating efficacy in vivo, is central to advancing new generation microbicides. We evaluated Carraguard® and a new generation Carraguard-based formulation containing the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) MIV-150 (PC-817). Since dendritic cells (DCs) are believed to be important in HIV transmission, the formulations were tested for the ability to limit DC-driven infection in vitro versus vaginal infection of macaques with RT-SHIV (SIVmac239 bearing HIV reverse transcriptase). Carraguard showed limited activity against cell-free and mature DC-driven RT-SHIV infections and, surprisingly, low doses of Carraguard enhanced infection. However, nanomolar amounts of MIV-150 overcame enhancement and blocked DC-transmitted infection. In contrast, Carraguard impeded infection of immature DCs coincident with DC maturation. Despite this variable activity in vitro, Carraguard and PC-817 prevented vaginal transmission of RT-SHIV when applied 30 min prior to challenge. PC-817 appeared no more effective than Carraguard in vivo, due to the limited activity of a single dose of MIV-150 and the dominant barrier effect of Carraguard. However, 3 doses of MIV-150 in placebo gel at and around challenge limited vaginal infection, demonstrating the potential activity of a topically applied NNRTI. These data demonstrate discordant observations when comparing in vitro and in vivo efficacy of Carraguard-based microbicides, highlighting the difficulties in testing putative anti-viral strategies in vitro to predict in vivo activity. This work also underscores the potential of Carraguard-based formulations for the delivery of anti-viral drugs to prevent vaginal HIV infection.
Here, we describe the generation of a novel type of HIV entry inhibitor using the recently developed Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein (DARPin) technology. DARPin proteins specific for human CD4 were selected from a DARPin DNA library using ribosome display. Selected pool members interacted specifically with CD4 and competed with gp120 for binding to CD4. DARPin proteins derived in the initial selection series inhibited HIV in a dose-dependent manner, but showed a relatively high variability in their capacity to block replication of patient isolates on primary CD4 T cells. In consequence, a second series of CD4-specific DARPins with improved affinity for CD4 was generated. These 2nd series DARPins potently inhibit infection of genetically divergent (subtype B and C) HIV isolates in the low nanomolar range, independent of coreceptor usage. Importantly, the actions of the CD4 binding DARPins were highly specific: no effect on cell viability or activation, CD4 memory cell function, or interference with CD4-independent virus entry was observed. These novel CD4 targeting molecules described here combine the unique characteristics of DARPins—high physical stability, specificity and low production costs—with the capacity to potently block HIV entry, rendering them promising candidates for microbicide development.
There is an increasing need to develop inhibitors of HIV entry into target cells for both application in therapy and prevention. The development of specific HIV inhibitors as microbicides, agents that by topical application prevent infection, is considered particularly important in limiting the spread of HIV in the absence of effective vaccines. To derive highly potent and specific inhibitors of HIV entry for potential use as microbicide, we employed the recently developed Designed Ankyrin Repeat Protein technology. Using this technique, Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins can be evolved that bind their target molecules as specifically and efficiently as antibodies. In the present study, we generated a panel of Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins that bind specifically to the cellular CD4 receptor, the main entry receptor of HIV. The obtained proteins are very potent and highly specific inhibitors of HIV entry and provide a broad reactivity against genetically different virus strains. Due to the high physical stability of Designed Ankyrin Repeat Proteins and their low cost production, these novel HIV entry inhibitors represent promising candidates for microbicide development.