Bananas as anti-viral agents and HIV
Type of Spiritual Experience
The research was done in the expectation that they would make a drug from the compound they had found, but it makes more sense to eat the bananas, which cost next to nothing and are tasty and nutritious
A description of the experience
J Biol Chem. 2010 Mar 19;285(12):8646-55. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.034926. Epub 2010 Jan 15.
A lectin isolated from bananas is a potent inhibitor of HIV replication.
Swanson MD1, Winter HC, Goldstein IJ, Markovitz DM.
BanLec is a jacalin-related lectin isolated from the fruit of bananas, Musa acuminata.
This lectin binds to high mannose carbohydrate structures, including those found on viruses containing glycosylated envelope proteins such as human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1). Therefore, we hypothesized that BanLec might inhibit HIV-1 through binding of the glycosylated HIV-1 envelope protein, gp120.
We determined that BanLec inhibits primary and laboratory-adapted HIV-1 isolates of different tropisms and subtypes.
BanLec possesses potent anti-HIV activity, with IC(50) values in the low nanomolar to picomolar range. The mechanism for BanLec-mediated antiviral activity was investigated by determining if this lectin can directly bind the HIV-1 envelope protein and block entry of the virus into the cell.
An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay confirmed direct binding of BanLec to gp120 and indicated that BanLec can recognize the high mannose structures that are recognized by the monoclonal antibody 2G12. Furthermore, BanLec is able to block HIV-1 cellular entry as indicated by temperature-sensitive viral entry studies and by the decreased levels of the strong-stop product of early reverse transcription seen in the presence of BanLec.
Thus, our data indicate that BanLec inhibits HIV-1 infection by binding to the glycosylated viral envelope and blocking cellular entry. The relative anti-HIV activity of BanLec compared favorably to other anti-HIV lectins, such as snowdrop lectin and Griffithsin, and to T-20 and maraviroc, two anti-HIV drugs currently in clinical use.
Based on these results, BanLec is a potential component for an anti-viral microbicide that could be used to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV-1.