Background: Natural aristolochia alkaloids have attracted the attention of both chemists and
biologists from the stand point of their structural and pharmacological aspects. Many of the compounds
isolated in this group are potent tumor inhibitors. These are divided into nitrophenanthrinic
acid, phenanthrene lactams and isoquinoline alkaloids. A number of structure-activity studies have
been performed on aristolochia alkaloids. Of particular interest is the molecule with the β-D-glucoside
moiety that has similarity to the clinical anticancer agent daunomycin.
Objective: The anticancer activity of aristololactam-β-D-glucoside has been thought to be due to its
DNA and RNA binding activities among other actions. In this article we focus on the physicochemical
property of this alkaloid and the structural and functional aspects of its binding to different nucleic acid
and protein structures.
Methods: This review highlights a large number of biophysical studies employing various analytical
techniques like absorbance, fluorescence, circular dichroism, thermal melting, viscosity, IR study, isothermal
calorimetry and differential scanning calorimetry.
Result: The detailed binding mechanism in terms of the structural and thermodynamic aspects at the
molecular level has been discussed.
Conclusion: This review enables to assess the high potential of developing aristololactam-β-Dglucoside
and related alkaloids as therapeutic agents.