Journal of Microbiology

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 74–79 | Cite as

Anti-varicella-zoster virus activity of cephalotaxine esters in vitro

  • Jung-Eun Kim
  • Yoon-Jae SongEmail author


Harringtonine (HT) and homoharringtonine (HHT), alkaloid esters isolated from the genus Cephalotaxus, exhibit antitumor activity. A semisynthetic HHT has been approved for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia. In addition to antileukemic activity, HT and HHT are reported to possess potent antiviral activity. In this study, we investigated the effects of HT and HHT on replication of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in vitro. HT and HHT, but not their biologically inactive parental alkaloid cephalotaxine (CET), significantly inhibited replication of recombinant VZV-pOka luciferase. Furthermore, HT and HHT, but not CET, strongly induced down-regulation of VZV lytic genes and exerted potent antiviral effects against a VZV clinical isolate. The collective data support the utility of HT and HHT as effective antiviral candidates for treatment of VZV-associated diseases.


varicella zoster virus antiviral harringtonine homoharringtonine 


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Copyright information

© The Microbiological Society of Korea and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life ScienceGachon UniversitySeongnamRepublic of Korea

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