Background & Objective: The emergence of multidrug-resistant virus, bacteria and fungi has created
an urgent need for the development of novel antibiotic drugs from natural products with different mechanism
of action. Therefore, in this review, seventeen types of isoquinoline alkaloids, including benzyltetrahydroisoquinoline,
benzylisoquinoline, bisbenzylisoquinoline, aporphine, tetrahydroprotoberberine, N-methyltetrahydroprotoberberine,
protoberberine, protopine, benzophenanthridine, dihydrobenzophenanthridine, pavine,
cularine, phthalideiso-quinoline, spirobenzylisoquinoline, promorphine, morphine and ipecac, were
screened and regarded as an attractive target for the discovery of new antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal
lead compounds or agents.
Method: Notably, sixteen types of alkaloids were biosynthesized from the central precursor benzyltetrahydroisoquinoline
in herbal medicine. Finally, the antiviral and antimicrobial activities of 210 isoquinoline alkaloids
were uncovered and the structure-activity relationships were also summarized.
Conclusion: The quaternary nitrogen and the methylenedioxy at C-2 and C-3 played an important role in increasing
the antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activity of N-methyltetrahydroprotoberberine, protoberberine
and benzophenanthridine alkaloids.