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AIDS-Antiviral Sulfolipids From Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae)

  1. Michael R. Boyd*
  1. Developmental Therapeutics Program, Division of Cancer Treatment, National Cancer Institute Bethesda, MD
  2. Program Resources, Inc., NCI-Frederick Cancer Research Facility Frederick, MD
  3. Department of Chemistry, University of Hawaii Honolulu, HI
  1. *Dr. Michael R. Boyd, National Institutes of Health, Executive Plaza North, Rm. 843, Bethesda, MD 20892.
  • Received May 22, 1989.
  • Accepted June 2, 1989.


A recently developed tetrazolium-based microculture assay was used to screen extracts of cultured cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) for inhibition of the cytopathic effects of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), which is implicated as a causative agent of AIDS. A number of extracts were found to be remarkably active against the AIDS virus. A new class of HIV-1-inhibitory compounds, the sulfonic acid-containing glycolipids, was discovered through the use of the microculture assay to guide the fractionation and purification process. The pure compounds were active against HIV-1 in cultured human lymphoblastoid CEM, MT-2, LDV-7, and C3-44 cell lines in the tetrazolium assay as well as in p24 viral protein and syncytium formation assays. [J Natl Cancer Inst 81:1254–1258, 1989]

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