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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 May 25;1723(1-3):270-81. Epub 2005 Mar 24.

Theaflavin derivatives in black tea and catechin derivatives in green tea inhibit HIV-1 entry by targeting gp41.

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Lindsley F. Kimball Research Institute, the New York Blood Center, 310 E 67th Street, New York, NY 10021, USA.

Erratum in

  • Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Feb;1770(2):312.


Theaflavin derivatives and catechin derivatives are the major polyphenols in black tea and green tea, respectively. Several tea polyphenols, especially those with galloyl moiety, can inhibit HIV-1 replication with multiple mechanisms of action. Here we showed that the theaflavin derivatives had more potent anti-HIV-1 activity than catechin derivatives. These tea polyphenols could inhibit HIV-1 entry into target cells by blocking HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein-mediated membrane fusion. The fusion inhibitory activity of the tea polyphenols was correlated with their ability to block the formation of the gp41 six-helix bundle, a fusion-active core conformation. Computer-aided molecular docking analyses indicate that these tea polyphenols, theaflavin-3,3'-digallate (TF3) as an example, may bind to the highly conserved hydrophobic pocket on the surface of the central trimeric coiled coil formed by the N-terminal heptad repeats of gp41. These results indicate that tea, especially black tea, may be used as a source of anti-HIV agents and theaflavin derivatives may be applied as lead compounds for developing HIV-1 entry inhibitors targeting gp41.

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