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Isolation and Characterization of Anti-Viral Nucleoside Compounds from the Chinese Herb Taraxacum Mongolicum

Characterization of nucleotide and nucleoside analogs from Taraxacum mongolicum, a Chinese medicinal herb was achieved for the first time using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). The active ingredients in the herb were characterized using nucleotide and nucleoside standards with product and precursor scans of tandem mass spectrometry. The nucleoside analogs were believed to be major active ingredients which have anti-Herpes simplex virus type 1 properties. While other methods are needed for the positive compound identification, the LC/MS/MS does provide a valuable tool for the characterization of active ingredients in natural products.

Introduction

Many emerging viruses pose threats to our world as we enter the twenty-first century. The association of viruses with many life-threatening diseases makes it necessary to examine variform treatments for viral infections. Herbal medicines are currently being sought after for viral diseases because customary treatments are not proving very effective. We have shown that the aqueous and methanolic herbal extracts of the Chinese herb Taraxacum mongolicum have anti-Herpes simplex virus type-1 properties in vitro. Using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) approaches and other spectroscopic and chromatographic techniques, we have tentatively identified the active ingredients as nucleoside analogs. Currently there are only a few classes of drugs with anti-HSV-1 properties, including nucleotide and nucleoside analogs. LC/MS/MS conditions were optimized using several nucleotide and nucleoside drug standards that are commercially available. Precursor and product ion scan modes were used to screen nucleotide and nucleoside analogs in the herbal extract. Three nucleoside analogs were found in Taraxacum mongolicum and their chemical structures were proposed.

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