Seminar - The Viral Corona Seminar Series: Unexpected Roles of Seminal Amyloids and Extracellular Vesicles in HIV-1 and Zika Virus Transmission
"The Viral Corona Seminar Series: Unexpected Roles of Seminal Amyloids and Extracellular Vesicles in HIV-1 and Zika Virus Transmission"
Prof. Dr. Jan Münch
Director of the Institute of Molecular Virology, University Clinic Ulm, Germany
HIV-1 is a sexually transmitted virus that has infected millions of people. Zika virus (ZIKV) caused a recent pandemic and is associated with severe cognitive defects in newborns of ZIKV infected mothers. Like HIV-1, ZIKV is present at elevated concentrations in semen of infected men and cases of sexual transmission were reported. We have previously shown that semen contains amyloid fibrils that capture HIV-1 particles and increase viral attachment to and fusion with target cells. Thus, HIV-1 may exploit seminal amyloids to increase its infectious potential for a successful transmission. In contrast, seminal amyloid has no effect on ZIKV infection. Strikingly, semen itself efficiently suppresses ZIKV infection, and responsible are likely extracellular vesicles.