Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Chemistry & Biochemistry



Committee Director

Laura K. Moen

Committee Member

Gary F. Clark

Committee Member

Charles E. Bell

Committee Member

Kenneth G. Brown

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.C45 W645


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections have become a leading cause of death among young people in the United States today. As the number of HIV infections increases, so too does the cost of treatment. Together, these numbers have prompted an increase in the development of pharmaceutical interventions. HIV reverse transcriptase (HIV RT) has become a suitable target for drug therapy because it is the sole enzyme responsible for HIV replication.

Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide isolated from the brown algae Fucus vesiculosus, has been shown to block a variety of cell adhesion related events including metastasis. In addition, fucoidan has also been shown to be active against HIV by several other investigators. However, the mechanism of action is not clear. Previous work in this laboratory has shown that a compound isolated from fucoidan is a homogeneous, non-carbohydrate compound that acts as a non-nucleoside inhibitor of HIV RT. In this study, further characterization of this inhibitory compound was achieved. For this purpose, the inhibitor was isolated from fucoidan and analyzed with nuclear magnetic resonance and fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy.

It was unlikely that an exact structure would be obtained in this study due to the limitations of the instrumentation available. However, the spectroscopic results indicated the presence of an amide functional group as well as an ionic compound. These results imply that the structure of the inhibitor differs remarkably from other non-nucleoside inhibitors. This structural difference suggests that the inhibitor interacts with HIV RT in a different location and perhaps in a different fashion than other reported non-nucleoside inhibitors.


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