Perspectives on the structural and biosynthetic interrelationships between oxygenated furanocembranoids and their polycyclic congeners found in corals

Yi Li, Gerald Pattenden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Macrocyclic and polycyclic 'cembranoid' diterpenes are one of the most widespread groups of natural products that are found in the marine milieu. The macrocyclic cembranoids are linked to each other by a network of oxygenation processes, which often climax with the formation of furano- and furanobutenolide-based macrocyclic cembranoids commonly found in gorgonian and soft corals. These macrocycles are then prone to oxidative rearrangements, photochemical ring contraction, and transannular cyclisations amongst others, leading to a plethora of novel and architecturally attractive marine metabolites. Although there is a dearth of knowledge about the enzymes that trigger some of the steps in their biosynthesis, speculations are rife. In this personal perspective we have examined many of the structural relationships within oxycembranoids and their relatives isolated from corals. This has allowed us to speculate on the likely biosynthetic interrelationships between structurally similar metabolites, and then propose some likely key carbon-to-carbon bond forming reactions that are followed in vivo in linking macrocyclic cembranoids to their polycyclic congeners. Biomimetic synthesis studies, which vindicate some of the biosynthetic speculations, are interweaved in the discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1310
Number of pages42
JournalNatural Product Reports
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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