Mucin 6 in seminal plasma binds DC-SIGN and potently blocks dendritic cell mediated transfer of HIV-1 to CD4(+) T-lymphocytes.Virology. 2009 Sep 01; 391(2):203-11.V
Many viruses transmitted via the genital or oral mucosa have the potential to interact with dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule-3 grabbing non integrin (DC-SIGN) expressed on immature dendritic cells (iDCs) that lie below the mucosal surface. These cells have been postulated to capture and disseminate human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1) to CD4(+) lymphocytes, potentially through breaches in the mucosal lining. We have previously described that BSSL (bile salt-stimulated lipase) in human milk can bind DC-SIGN and block transfer. Here we demonstrate that seminal plasma has similar DC-SIGN blocking properties as BSSL in human milk. Using comparative SDS-PAGE and Western blotting combined with mass spectrometry we identified mucin 6 as the DC-SIGN binding component in seminal plasma. Additionally, we demonstrate that purified mucin 6 binds DC-SIGN and successfully inhibits viral transfer. Mucin 6 in seminal plasma may therefore interfere with the sexual transmission of HIV-1 and other DC-SIGN co-opting viruses.