Specific glycosphingolipids (GSL), found on the surface of target immune cells, are recognized as alternate cell surface receptors by the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) external envelope glycoprotein. In this study, the globotriose and 3'-sialyllactose carbohydrate head groups found on two GSL were covalently attached to a dendrimer core to produce two types of unique multivalent carbohydrates (MVC). These MVC inhibited HIV-1 infection of T cell lines and primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) by T cell line-adapted viruses or primary isolates, with IC50s ranging from 0.1 to 7.4μg/ml. Inhibition of Env-mediated membrane fusion by MVC was also observed using a dye-transfer assay. These carbohydrate compounds warrant further investigation as a potential new class of HIV-1 entry inhibitors. The data presented also shed light on the role of carbohydrate moieties in HIV-1 virus-host cell interactions.
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