Sambucus nigra (elder) are broadly used species to treat microbial infections. The potential antiviral activity and mechanism action of elder fruit (EF) in human epithelium cell (A549) cultures infected with H9N2 influenza virus were determined. The effect of various concentrations of EF on influenza virus replication was examined by using virus titration, quantitative real time RT-PCR, fusion and lipid raft assays following two treatment procedures: A) pre-treated H9N2 virus with each concentration of EF extract and transfection of A549 cell cultures, and B) each concentrations of EF was added to H9N2 virus infected-cell cultures following virus adsorption. In both treatments with lower doses of EF increased viral titer as well as synthesized viral nucleoprotein as indicating the herb had no inhibitory effects on virus replication. In (B) trial with higher doses, 40 and 80 μg/mL of EF, a significant decrease in virus titer and viral protein synthesis were shown in EF treated cells indicating the herb affect either entry of viruses or inhibition virus particle release. The results suggest that EF treatment of the influenza virus infected-human epithelial cells may involve in lipid raft association which function as platform for formation of viral membrane fusion and budding. Differencesin treatment time and dose of EF extract in infected cells with influenza virus have a marked effect on the efficacy of the herb.
Keywords: Antiviral activity; Hemagglutinin; Influenza virus; Lipid raft; Sambucus nigra.