The present study was undertaken to examine structural features of L-chicoric acid (3) which are important for potency against purified HIV-1 integrase and for reported cytoprotective effects in cell-based systems. Through a progressive series of analogues, it was shown that enantiomeric D-chicoric acid (4) retains inhibitory potency against purified integrase equal to its L-counterpart and further that removal of either one or both carboxylic functionalities results in essentially no loss of inhibitory potency. Additionally, while two caffeoyl moieties are required, attachment of caffeoyl groups to the central linking structure can be achieved via amide or mixed amide/ester linkages. More remarkable is the finding that blockage of the catechol functionality through conversion to tetraacetate esters results in almost no loss of potency, contingent on the presence of at least one carboxyl group on the central linker. Taken as a whole, the work has resulted in the identification of new integrase inhibitors which may be regarded as bis-caffeoyl derivatives of glycidic acid and amino acids such as serine and beta-aminoalanine. The present study also examined the reported ability of chicoric acid to exert cytoprotective effects in HIV-infected cells. It was demonstrated in target and cell-based assays that the chicoric acids do not significantly inhibit other targets associated with HIV-1 replication, including reverse transcription, protease function, NCp7 zinc finger function, or replication of virus from latently infected cells. In CEM cells, for both the parent chicoric acid and selected analogues, antiviral activity was observable under specific assay conditions and with high dependence on the multiplicity of viral infection. However, against HIV-1- and HIV-2-infected MT-4 cells, the chicoric acids and their tetraacetylated esters exhibited antiviral activity (50% effective concentration (EC50) ranging from 1.7 to 20 microM and 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) ranging from 40 to 60 microM).