Secondary Plant Substances: Monoterpenoid Indole Alkaloids

  • Horst-Robert Schütte
Part of the Progress in Botany/Fortschritte der Botanik book series (BOTANY, volume 48)


Tryptophan-derived alkaloids, which are found in higher plants and microorganisms, are the largest group (about one quarter) of known alkaloids. Most of them have been isolated and structurally determined during the last two decades. This was done with the aid of classic chemical degradation and modern analytical techniques (mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray crystallography). Many indole alkaloids are biologically active and some are extremely useful therapeutic agents in human medicine, e.g., Catharanthus, Curare, ergot, Rauwolfia, Vinca alkaloids. Approximately 1100 indole alkaloids of this type are known. The overwhelming majority of monoterpenoid indole alkaloids are restricted to three plant families: Loganiaceae, Apocynaceae, and Rubiaceae, which belong to the order Gentianales (Contortae) (PHILLIPSON and ZENK 1980; KISAKUREK et al. 1983; KOSKINEN and LOUNASMAA 1983). The iridoid indole alkaloids were classified in eight different skeleton types: corynanthean (C)-(I), vincosan (D)-(II), vallesiachotaman (V)-(III), strychnan (S)-(IV), aspidospermatan (A)-(V), eburan (E)-(VI), plumeran (P)-(VII), and ibogan (I)-(VIII) types (Fig. 1). The C-, D-, V-, S-, and A-types possess a non-rearranged secologanin moiety and the E-, P-, and I-types a rearranged secologanin unit. The latter three more “complex” types occur exclusively in Plumerioideae, a subfamily of Apocynaceae.


Cell Suspension Culture Vinca Alkaloid Indole Alkaloid Mevalonic Acid Plant Cell Report 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Horst-Robert Schütte
    • 1
  1. 1.Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDRInstitut für Biochemie der Pflanzen HalleHalle (Saale)Germany

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