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Trends Mol Med. 2005 Jan;11(1):31-6.

Betulinic acid derivatives as HIV-1 antivirals.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.


Betulinic acid (BA) derivatives are low molecular weight organic compounds synthesized from a plant-derived natural product. Several BA derivatives are potent and highly selective inhibitors of HIV-1. Depending on the specific side-chain modification, these compounds function by inhibiting HIV fusion or, as recently demonstrated, by interfering with a specific step in HIV-1 maturation. BA derivatives have potential as novel HIV-1 therapies, and additional studies of their mechanisms of action are likely to further define the novel targets of these compounds and elucidate the basic biology of HIV-1 fusion and maturation. In this review, recent studies of the novel mechanisms of action of this interesting class of antiviral compounds are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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