Liquefaction of Semen Generates and Later Degrades a Conserved Semenogelin Peptide that Enhances HIV Infection. Semen enhances HIV infection in vitro, but how long it retains this activity has not been carefully examined. Immediately post-ejaculation semen exists as a semi-solid coagulum, which then converts to a more liquid form in a process termed liquefaction. We demonstrate that early during liquefaction, semen exhibits maximal HIV-enhancing activity that gradually declines upon further incubation. The decline in HIV-enhancing activity parallels degradation of peptide fragments derived from the semenogelins (SEMs(, the major components of the coagulum that are cleaved in a site-specific and progressive manner upon initiation of liquefaction. Because amyloid fibrils generated from SEM fragments were recently demonstrated to enhance HIV infection, we set out to determine whether any of the liquefaction-generated SEM fragments associate with the presence of HIV-enhancing activity.
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