Alkaloids from the Sponge Stylissa carteri Present Prospective Scaffolds for the Inhibition of Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 (HIV-1)

Aubrie O'Rourke, Stephan Kremb, Theresa Bader, Markus Helfer, Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin, William Gerwick, Ruth Brack-Werner, Christian R. Voolstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The sponge Stylissa carteri is known to produce a number of secondary metabolites displaying anti-fouling, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer activity. However, the anti-viral potential of metabolites produced by S. carteri has not been extensively explored. In this study, an S. carteri extract was HPLC fractionated and a cell based assay was used to evaluate the effects of HPLC fractions on parameters of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) infection and cell viability. Candidate HIV-1 inhibitory fractions were then analyzed for the presence of potential HIV-1 inhibitory compounds by mass spectrometry, leading to the identification of three previously characterized compounds, i.e., debromohymenialdisine (DBH), hymenialdisine (HD), and oroidin. Commercially available purified versions of these molecules were re-tested to assess their antiviral potential in greater detail. Specifically, DBH and HD exhibit a 30%–40% inhibition of HIV-1 at 3.1 μM and 13 μM, respectively; however, both exhibited cytotoxicity. Conversely, oroidin displayed a 50% inhibition of viral replication at 50 μM with no associated toxicity. Additional experimentation using a biochemical assay revealed that oroidin inhibited the activity of the HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase up to 90% at 25 μM. Taken together, the chemical search space was narrowed and previously isolated compounds with an unexplored anti-viral potential were found. Our results support exploration of marine natural products for anti-viral drug discovery.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 4 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Research reported in this publication was supported by baseline research funds to Christian R. Voolstra and an AEA3 award by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Thank you to Najeh Kharbatia and Salim Sioud, technical staff at the Analytical Core Lab at KAUST, and thank you to the staff of the Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab (CMOR) for providing boat access. Thank you to Nicole de Voogd for assisting with sponge specimen taxonomic identification. Thank you to Martha Schneider for providing selection and experimental data on the effects of two reference cytotoxic compounds, Doxorubicin and Staurosporine, on the HIV infection signal and the metabolic activity in LC5-RIC cells.


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