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Terpenoids from Marine Organisms: Unique Structures and their Pharmacological Potential

Abstract

Marine organisms produce a wide array of fascinating terpenoid structures distinguished by characteristic structural features. Certain structural classes, e.g. cembrane, chamigrene, amphilectane skeletons, and unusual functional groups such as isonitrile, isothiocyanate, isocyanate, dichloroimine and halogenated functionalities occur predominantly in marine metabolites. Especially striking is the frequent occurrence of sesterterpenes in marine organisms, and sponges must be considered as one of the prime sources of these C25 terpenoid compounds. In most cases however, these structural features are not strictly unique for marine natural products. The prominent biological activity of marine terpenes is evident in their ecological role in the marine environment, and makes them interesting as potential drugs. Several terpenoid compounds, e.g. eleutherobin, sarcodictyin, contignasterol derivatives, are in preclinical or clinical development. Despite the many structures known and their ecological and pharmacological importance, only a few biosynthetic studies on marine terpenoid compounds have been performed.

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Gross, H., König, G.M. Terpenoids from Marine Organisms: Unique Structures and their Pharmacological Potential. Phytochem Rev 5, 115–141 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11101-005-5464-3

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Keywords

  • algae
  • biosynthesis
  • corals
  • halogenated terpenes
  • isonitriles
  • marine natural products
  • sesterterpenes
  • sponges