AIDS-antiviral sulfolipids from cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)

J Natl Cancer Inst. 1989 Aug 16;81(16):1254-8. doi: 10.1093/jnci/81.16.1254.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents* / isolation & purification
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Cyanobacteria / analysis*
  • HIV / drug effects*
  • HIV Core Protein p24
  • Lipids / isolation & purification
  • Lipids / pharmacology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods
  • Retroviridae Proteins / analysis
  • Tetrazolium Salts


  • Antiviral Agents
  • HIV Core Protein p24
  • Lipids
  • Retroviridae Proteins
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • sulfolipids