The cyclic depsipeptide largazole from a cyanobacterium of the genus Symploca is a marine natural product with a novel chemical scaffold and potently inhibits class I histone deacetylases (HDACs). Largazole possesses highly differential growth-inhibitory activity, preferentially targeting transformed over non-transformed cells. The intriguing structure and biological activity of largazole have attracted strong interest from the synthetic chemistry community to establish synthetic routes to largazole and to investigate its potential as a cancer therapeutic. This Highlight surveys recent advances in this area with a focus on the discovery, synthesis, target identification, structure–activity relationships, HDAC8–largazole thiol crystal structure, and biological studies, including in vivo anticancer and osteogenic activities.
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