Anti-sars-cov-2 activity of rhamnan sulfate from monostroma nitidum

Yuefan Song, Peng He, Andre L. Rodrigues, Payel Datta, Ritesh Tandon, John T. Bates, Michael A. Bierdeman, Chen Chen, Jonathan Dordick, Fuming Zhang, Robert J. Linhardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The COVID-19 pandemic is a major human health concern. The pathogen responsible for COVID-19, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), invades its host through the interaction of its spike (S) protein with a host cell receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). In addition to ACE2, heparan sulfate (HS) on the surface of host cells also plays a significant role as a co-receptor. Our previous studies demonstrated that sulfated glycans, such as heparin and fucoidans, show anti-COVID-19 activities. In the current study, rhamnan sulfate (RS), a polysaccharide with a rhamnose backbone from a green seaweed, Monostroma nitidum, was evaluated for binding to the S-protein from SARS-CoV-2 and inhibition of viral infectivity in vitro. The structural characteristics of RS were investigated by determining its monosaccharide composition and performing two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance. RS inhibition of the interaction of heparin, a highly sulfated HS, with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (from wild type and different mutant variants) was studied using surface plasmon resonance (SPR). In competitive binding studies, the IC50 of RS against the S-protein receptor binding domain (RBD) binding to immobilized heparin was 1.6 ng/mL, which is much lower than the IC50 for heparin (~750 ng/mL). RS showed stronger inhibition than heparin on the S-protein RBD or pseudoviral particles binding to immobilized heparin. Finally, in an in vitro cell-based assay, RS showed strong antiviral activities against wild type SARS-CoV-2 and the delta variant.

Original languageEnglish
Article number685
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Heparin
  • Rhamnan sulfate
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Surface plasmon resonance


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