Chiral alkynylcarbinols from marine sponges: asymmetric synthesis and biological relevance†
Covering: up to March 2014. Previous review on the topic: B. W. Gung, C. R. Chim., 2009, 12, 489–505
Chiral α-functional lipidic propargylic alcohols extracted from marine sponges, in particular of the pacific genus Petrosia, constitute a class of acetylenic natural products exhibiting remarkable in vitro biological activities, especially anti-tumoral cytotoxicity. These properties, associated to functionalities that are uncommon among natural products, have prompted recent projects on asymmetric total synthesis. On the basis of a three-sector structural typology, three main sub-types of secondary alkynylcarbinols (with either alkyl, alkenyl, or alkynyl as the second substituent) can be identified as the minimal pharmacophoric units. Selected natural products containing these functionalities have been targeted using previously known or on purpose-designed procedures, where the stereo-determining step can be: (i) a C–C bond forming reaction (e.g. the Zn-mediated addition of alkynyl nucleophiles to aldehydes in the presence of chiral aminoalcohols), (ii) a functional layout (e.g. the asymmetric organo- or metallo-catalytic reduction of ynones), or (iii) an enantiomeric resolution (e.g. a lipase-mediated kinetic resolution via acetylation). The promising medicinal importance of these targets is finally surveyed, and future investigation prospects are proposed, such as: (i) further total synthesis of known or future extraction products; (ii) the synthesis of non-natural analogues, with simpler lipophilic environments of the alkynylcarbinol-based pharmacophoric units; (iii) the variation and optimization of both the pharmacophoric units and their lipophilic environment; and (iv) investigations into the biological mode of action of these unique structures.