Fabrication and Characterization of Griffithsin-modified Fiber Scaffolds for Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Infections

* These authors contributed equally
This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

Electrospun fibers (EFs) have been widely used in a variety of therapeutic applications; however, they have only recently been applied as a technology to prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Moreover, many EF technologies focus on encapsulating the active agent, relative to utilizing the surface to impart biofunctionality. Here we describe a method to fabricate and surface-modify poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) electrospun fibers, with the potent antiviral lectin Griffithsin (GRFT). PLGA is an FDA-approved polymer that has been widely used in drug delivery due to its outstanding chemical and biocompatible properties. GRFT is a natural, potent, and safe lectin that possesses broad activity against numerous viruses including human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). When combined, GRFT-modified fibers have demonstrated potent inactivation of HIV-1 in vitro. This manuscript describes the methods to fabricate and characterize GRFT-modified EFs. First, PLGA is electrospun to create a fiber scaffold. Fibers are subsequently surface-modified with GRFT using 1-Ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide (EDC) and N-hydroxysuccinimide (NHS)chemistry. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to assess the size and morphology of surface-modified formulations. Additionally, a gp120 or hemagglutinin (HA)-based ELISA may be used to quantify the amount of GRFT conjugated to, as well as GRFT desorption from the fiber surface. This protocol can be more widely applied to fabricate fibers that are surface-modified with a variety of different proteins.