About Dr. Amy Cole

Studies how bacterial vaginosis-associated bacteria alter mucosal barrier defense against HIV in the female reproductive tract (FRT), in the pursuit of new drugs that provide anti-HIV activity without disturbing the FRT mucosa and resident healthy microbiome.

Our research interests include the study of several factors that modulate inflammatory pathways in the female genital tract (FGT). We have identified cationic antimicrobial peptides that contribute to the anti-viral capabilities of vaginal fluid. Former student projects have also identified pro-HIV molecules produced by endocervical cells exposed to bacterial vaginosis-associated bacteria. Current studies include fractionation of these co-culture fluids in order to identify specific proteins effecting epithelial barrier function, NFkB activation, and chemotaxis of HIV target cells. We collaborate with faculty from UCF and abroad in the pursuit of therapeutics that provide potent anti-viral activity without disturbing the dynamic environment of the FGT mucosa. We are also a GCLP-certified specimen processing lab for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, and perform clinical processing for several Orlando-area clinical trials.

Representative Publications:

  1. Venkataraman, N., Cole, A.L.*, Svoboda, P., Pohl, J, Cole, A.M. Cationic polypeptides are required for anti-HIV-1 activity of human vaginal fluid. J. Immunol. 175(11): 7560-7, 2005
  2. Cole, A.L., Yang, O.O., Warren, A.D., Waring, A.J., Lehrer, R.I., Cole, A.M. HIV-1 adapts to a retrocyclin with cationic amino acid substitutions that reduce fusion efficiency of gp41. J. Immunol. 176(11): 6900-5, 2006
  3. Cole, A.L., Herasimtschuk, A., Gupta, P., Waring, A.J., Lehrer, R.I., and Cole, A.M. The retrocyclin analogue RC-101 prevents human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection of a model human cervicovaginal tissue construct. Immunology 121(1): 140-5, 2007
  4. Keller M.J., Guzman, E., Hazrati, E., Kasowitz, A., Cheshenko, N., Wallenstein, S., Cole, A.L., Cole, A.M., Profy, A.T., Wira, C.R., Hogarty, K., Herold, B.C. PRO 2000 elicits a decline in genital tract immune mediators without compromising intrinsic antimicrobial activity. AIDS. 21(4): 467-476, 2007
  5. Fuhrman, C.A., Warren, A.D., Waring, A.J., Dutz, S.M., Sharma, S., Lehrer, R.I., Cole, A.L., and Cole, A.M. Retrocyclin (RC)-101 overcomes cationic mutations on the heptad repeat 2 region of HIV-1 gp41. FEBS J. 274(24): 6477-87, 2007
  6. Cole, A.M., Cole, A.L. Antimicrobial polypeptides are key anti-HIV-1 effector molecules of cervicovaginal host defense. Am. J. Reprod. Immunol. 59(1): 27-34, 2008
  7. Martellini, J.A., Cole, A.L., Venkataraman, N., Quinn, G.A., Svoboda, P., Gangrade, B.K., Pohl, J., Sorensen, O.E., Cole, A.M. Cationic polypeptides contribute to the anti-HIV-1 activity of human seminal plasma. FASEB J. 23(10): 3609-18, 2009
  8. Cole, A.M., Patton, D.L., Rohan, L.C., Cole, A.L., Cosgrove-Sweeney, Y., Rogers, N.A., Ratner, D., Sassi, A., Tarwater, P., Ramratnam, B., Ruchala, P., Lehrer, R.I., Waring, A.J., and Gupta, P.  The formulated microbicide RC-101 was safe and antivirally active following intravaginal application in pigtailed macaques.  PLoS ONE 5(11): e15111, 2010.
  9. Sassi, A.B., Cost, M.R., Cole, A.L., Cole, A.M., Patton, D.L., Gupta, P., and Rohan, L.C.   Formulation development of Retrocyclin-1 (RC-101) as an anti-HIV vaginal microbicide product.  Antimicrob Agents and Chemother 55(5): 2282-9, 2011
  10. Martellini, J.A., Cole, A.L., Svoboda, P., Stuchlik, O., Chen, L.M., Chai, K.X., Gangrade, B.K., Sorensen, O.E., Pohl, J., and Cole, A.M.  HIV-1 enhancing effect of prostatic acid phosphatase peptides is reduced in human seminal plasma.  PLoS ONE 6(1): e16285, 2011.
  11. Ruchala, P., Cho, S., Cole, A.L., Carpenter, C., Jung, C-L., Luong, H., Micewicz, E.D., Waring, A.J., Cole, A.M., Herold, B.C., Lehrer, R.I. Simplified theta-defensins: search for new antivirals. Int. J. Peptide Res. and Ther. Published online Sept 23, 2011
  12. Levinson, P., Choi, R.Y., Cole, A.L., Hirbod, T., Rhedin, S., Payne, B., Guthrie, B.L., Bosire, R., Cole, A.M., Farquhar, C., Broliden, K. HIV-Neutralizing Activity of Cationic Polypeptides in Cervicovaginal Secretions of Women in HIV-Serodiscordant Relationships. PLoS One 2012; 7(2):e31996. Epub 2012 Feb 28
  13. Eade, C.R., Diaz, C., Wood, M.P., Anastos, K., Patterson, B.K., Gupta, P., Cole, A.L., Cole, A.M. Identification and characterization of bacterial vaginosis-associated pathogens using a comprehensive cervical-vaginal epithelial coculture assay. PLOS One. 7(11): 250106 Epub 2012 Nov15
  14. Eade, C.R., Cole, A.L.*, Diaz, C., Rohan, L.C., Parniak, M.A., Marx, P., Tarwater, P.M., Gupta, P., Cole, A.M. The anti-HIV microbicide candidate RC-101 inhibits pathogenic vaginal bacteria without harming endogenous flora or mucosa. Amer J Rep Immunol. 69(2): 150-8, 2013
  15. Wood, M.P., Cole, A.L., Ruchala, P., Waring, A.J., Rohan, L.C., Marx, P., Tarwater, P.M., Gupta, P., Cole, A.M. A compensatory mutation provides resistance to disparate HIV fusion inhibitor peptides and enhances membrane fusion. PLOS One. 8(2):e55478 Epub 2013 Feb5
  16. Wood. M.P., Cole, A.L., Eade, C.R., Chen, LM, Chai, K.X., Cole, A.M. The HIV-1 gp41 ectodomain is cleaved by matriptase to produce a chemotactic peptide that acts through FPR2. Accepted to Immunology, March 6, 2014