Bioorg Med Chem. 2023 Jul 7;91:117408. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2023.117408. Online ahead of print.
Infection with the retrovirus human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) sometimes causes diseases that are difficult to cure. To find anti-HTLV-1 natural compounds, we opted to screen using the HTLV-1-infected T-cell line, MT-2. Based on our results, an extract of the pulp/seeds of Akebia quinata Decaisne fruit killed MT-2 cells but did not affect the Jurkat cell line that was not infected with virus. To determine the active ingredients, seven saponins with one-six sugar moieties were isolated from A. quinata seeds, and their activities against the two cell lines were examined. Both cell lines were killed in a similar manner by Akebia saponins A and B. Further, Akebia saponins D, E, PK and G did not exhibit cytotoxicity. Akebia saponin C had a similar activity to the extract found in the screening. This compound was found to enhance Gag aggregation, induce the abnormal cleavage of Gag, suppress virion release, and preferentially kill HTLV-1 infected cells; however, their relationship remains elusive. Our findings may lead to the development of new therapies for infectious diseases based on the removal of whole-virus-infected cells.