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Portulaca oleracea L. as a Prospective Candidate Inhibitor of Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Serine Protease



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Viral Immunol. 2015 Jun;28(5):282-9. doi: 10.1089/vim.2014.0079. Epub 2015 Apr 14.

Portulaca oleracea L. as a Prospective Candidate Inhibitor of Hepatitis C Virus NS3 Serine Protease.

Noreen S1, Hussain I1, Tariq MI1, Ijaz B2, Iqbal S1, Qamar-ul-Zaman3, Ashfaq UA4, Husnain T2.

  • 11Department of Chemistry, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan.
  • 22Center of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB), University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.
  • 33Department of Pharmacy, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan.
  • 44Department of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, Government College University Faisalabad, Faisalabad, Pakistan.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a worldwide health problem affecting about 300 million individuals.

HCV causes chronic liver disease, liver cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and death.

Many side effects are associated with the current treatment options.

Natural products that can be used as anti-HCV drugs are thus of considerable potential significance. NS3 serine protease (NS3-SP) is a target for the screening of antiviral activity against HCV. The present work explores plants with anti-HCV potential, isolating possible lead compounds.

Ten plants, used for medicinal purposes against different infections in rural areas of Pakistan, were collected. The cellular toxicity effects of methanolic extracts of the plants on the viability of Huh-7 cells were studied through the Trypan blue dye exclusion method. Following this, the anti-HCV potential of phytoextracts was assessed by infecting liver cells with HCV-3a-infected serum inoculum.

Only the methanolic extract of Portulaca oleracea L. (PO) exhibited more than 70% inhibition. Four fractions were obtained through bioassay-guided extraction of PO. Subsequent inhibition of all organic extract fractions against NS3 serine protease was checked to track the specific target in the virus. The results showed that the PO methanolic crude and ethyl acetate extract specifically abridged the HCV NS3 protease expression in a dose-dependent fashion.

Hence, PO extract and its constituents either alone or with interferon could offer a future option to treat chronic HCV.

PMID: 25871297

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Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Hepatitis virus infection