Plant Troponoids: Chemistry, Biological Activity, and Biosynthesis
Tropone or tropolone and its derivatives (here together called troponoids) belong to a family of natural products with a sevenmembered aromatic ring and various side groups. They are mainly synthesized by plants and fungi, and most troponoids play roles of antibacterial defenses in these organisms. With an increasingly severe situation of antibiotic resistant bacteria, as well as a requirement for antifungal medicines, troponoids have attracted extensive studies since they have powerful antibacterial and antifungal activity, particularly against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In addition, many other biological activities such as antiviral, antitumor, antioxidant, antiinflammatory, insecticidal, or enzyme inhibitor activities are associated with troponoids. After extensive studies in the 1960s-70s, interests in natural troponoids dedclined. However, chemical and biomedical studies on troponoids bloom again from the 1990s. To date great progress has been made with troponoid study in terms of identification of new natural troponoids, chemical synthesis and properties, biological activity, biosynthesis and metabolism. Particularly, bioassay-guided screening strategy and structure-activity relation-directed structure modification and drug design has resulted in the synthesis and discovery of many new derivatives. Many of them have great promise to be developed into new medicines for their potent and specific activities. This review presents the recent advances in troponoid studies and highlights multiple faceted biological activities of troponoids, as well as their relationships with chemical structures. Chemistry, biosynthesis, and production via biotechnology of troponoids are also briefly reviewed. Applications of troponoids in daily life, agriculture, medicine, and industry, and the related patents have been considered to further extend our understanding of the increasing impact of troponoids on humans.
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