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.
Keywords: HIV-1; Red Sea; Stylissa carteri; marine bioprospecting; reverse transcriptase.