Anti-HIV-1 integrase potency of methylgallate from Alchornea cordifolia using in vitro and in silico approaches.


Department of Chemistry, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, 6140, South Africa. [Email]


According to the 2018 report of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), remains a significant public health problem. The non-existence of a cure or effective vaccine for the disease and the associated emergence of resistant viral strains imply an urgent need for the discovery of novel anti-HIV drug candidates. The current study aimed to identify potential anti-retroviral compounds from Alchornea cordifolia. Bioactive compounds were identified using several chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques and subsequently evaluated for cytotoxicity and anti-HIV properties. Molecular modelling studies against HIV-1 integrase (HIV-1 IN) were performed to decipher the mode of action of methylgallate, the most potent compound (IC50 = 3.7 nM) and its analogues from ZINC database. Cytotoxicity assays showed that neither the isolated compounds nor the crude methanolic extract displayed cytotoxicity effects on the HeLa cell line. A strong correlation between the in vitro and in silico results was observed and important HIV-1 IN residues interacting with the different compounds were identified. These current results indicate that methylgallate is the main anti-HIV-1 compound in A. cordifolia stem bark, and could be a potential platform for the development of new HIV-1 IN inhibitors.