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Nat Prod Rep. 2009 Jan;26(1):115-34.

Unusually cyclized triterpenes: occurrence, biosynthesis and chemical synthesis.

Author information

1
Department of Organic Chemistry, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Granada, Avenida Fuentenueva, 18071 Granada, Spain.

Abstract

The biosynthetic origin of most of triterpenes lies in cascade cyclizations and rearrangements of the acyclic precursors squalene (S) and 2,3-oxidosqualene (OS), processes leading to tetra- and pentacyclic triterpene skeleta. Apart from these, a number of triterpenoid structures derived from cyclization processes, that are different from those leading to tetra- and pentacyclic triterpenes, are also found in Nature. We have defined these processes as unusual cyclizations, and grouped them in three blocks, namely, incomplete cyclizations of the corresponding S-derived precursors, cyclizations of S or OS towards polycyclic triterpenes and subsequent cleavage of the preformed ring systems, and two independent cyclizations of the S- or OS-derived precursor. Apart from the molecules obtained from intact organisms, we will also consider the compounds obtained from in vitro cyclizations promoted by enzyme systems. After establishing which compounds could unambiguously be grouped under the term 'unusually cyclized triterpenes', this review moves on to the advances achieved in this kind of structure during the last ten years. These advances are presented in three parts. The first one presents the structure and biological properties of the unusual triterpenes reported in the last decade. The second part considers the main biosynthetic pathways which justify the formation of these triterpenes from their corresponding acyclic precursors. Finally, we look at the achievements made in different synthetic strategies directed at some of these molecules. One hundred and twenty-three references are cited.

PMID:
19374125
DOI:
10.1039/b801470c
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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