Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.522, No.4, 1052-1058, 2020
Cephalotaxine inhibits Zika infection by impeding viral replication and stability
The Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that has reemerged as a serious public health problem around the world. Syndromes of infected people range from asymptomatic infections to severe neurological disorders, such as Guillain-Barre syndrome and microcephaly. Screening anti-ZIKV drugs derived from Chinese medicinal herbs is one method of identifying antiviral agents. In this paper, we report that (1) Cephalotaxine (CET), an alkaloid isolated from Cephalotaxus drupacea, was effective in inhibiting ZIKV activity in vitro (i.e., in Vero and A549 cell lines) and (2) the mechanisms which underlie these effects involve virucidal activity and a decrease in viral replication. Specifically, CET was found to decrease ZIKV RNA and viral protein expression, inhibit ZIKV replication, and inhibit ZIKV mRNA/protein production. We also determined that CET is effective in inhibiting dengue virus 1-4 (DENV1-4). Taken together, our findings indicate that CET could be an effective lead compound in the treatment of ZIKV and also suggest that further investigation and development of CET-derived drugs may lead to a new class of anti-Flavivirus medications. (C) 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.