Human cervicovaginal mucus contains an activity that hinders HIV-1 movement

S. A. Shukair, S. A. Allen, G. C. Cianci, D. J. Stieh, M. R. Anderson, S. M. Baig, C. J. Gioia, E. J. Spongberg, S. M. Kauffman, M. D. McRaven, H. Y. Lakougna, C. Hammond, P. F. Kiser, T. J. Hope*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Cervical and vaginal epithelia are primary barriers against HIV type I (HIV-1) entry during male-to-female transmission. Cervical mucus (CM) is produced by the endocervix and forms a layer locally as well as in the vaginal compartment in the form of cervicovaginal mucus (CVM). To study the potential barrier function of each mucus type during HIV-1 transmission, we quantified HIV-1 mobility in CM and CVM ex vivo using fluorescent microscopy. Virions and 200-nm PEGylated beads were digitally tracked and mean-squared displacement was calculated. The mobility of beads increased significantly in CVM compared with CM, consistent with the known decreased mucin concentration of CVM. Unexpectedly, HIV-1 diffusion was significantly hindered in the same CVM samples in which bead diffusion was unhindered. Inhibition of virus transport was envelope-independent. Our results reveal a previously unknown activity in CVM that is capable of impeding HIV-1 mobility to enhance mucosal barrier function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-434
Number of pages8
JournalMucosal Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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