Methyl gallate (MG), methyl-3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoate, was highly active against herpes viruses as determined by plaque reduction assay. Herper simplex virus type 2, MS strain, was sensitive to MG at a mean 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 0.224 μg/ml in monkey kidney cells. MG was specific for herpes viruses with the relative sensitivity HSV-2>HSV-1>CMV. Two RNA viruses tested were significantly less sensitive to MG. The structural components of MG which modulate the anti-herpetic activity were identified by analysis of chemical analogues. Our structural analyses indicated that three hydroxyl groups were required but were not sufficient for the anti-herpetic action of MG. The presence and chain length of the alkyl ester were also important to the anti-herpetic activity of MG. Methyl gallate may interact with virus proteins and alter the adsorption and penetration of the virion.

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