Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is responsible of common and widespread viral infections in humans through the world, and of rare, but extremely severe, clinical syndromes in the central nervous system. The emergence of resistant strains to drugs actually in use encourages the searching for novel antiviral compounds, including those of natural origin. In this study, the recently described poly-γ-glutamic acid (γ-PGA-APA), produced by the marine thermotolerant Bacillus horneckiae strain APA, and previously shown to possess biological and antiviral activity, was evaluated for its anti-HSV-1 and immunomodulatory properties. The biopolymer hindered the HSV-1 infection in the very early phase of virus replication. In addition, the γ-PGA-APA was shown to exert low cytotoxicity and noticeable immunomodulatory activities towards TNF-α and IL-1β gene expression. Moreover, the capacity to positively modulate the transcriptional activity of the cytokine genes was paired with increased level of activation of the transcription factor NF-kB by γ-PGA-APA. Overall, as non-cytotoxic biopolymer able to contribute in the antiviral defense against HSV-1, γ-PGA-APA could lead to the development of novel natural drugs for alternative therapies.
- Journal Article