Letter | Published:

Synthesis of Ergothioneine

Naturevolume 166page106 (1950) | Download Citation



ERGOTHIONEINE has been isolated from ergot1 and from mammalian blood2,3. Barger and Ewins4 and Akabori5 showed that the structure of ergothioneine (I) is β-2-thiolglyoxaline-4(5)-propiobetaine. This structure has now been confirmed by synthesis according to the following scheme.

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    Tanret, G., J. Pharm. Chim., 30, 145 (1909).

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    Hunter, G., and Eagles, B. A., J. Biol. Chem., 72, 123 (1927).

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    Newton, E. B., Benedict, S. R., and Dakin, H. D., J. Biol. Chem., 72, 367 (1927).

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    Barger, G., and Ewins, A. J., J. Chem. Soc., 99, 2336 (1911).

  5. 5

    Akabori, S., Ber. deut. chem. Ges., 66, 151 (1933).

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    Ashley, J. N., and Harington, C. R., J. Chem. Soc., 2586 (1930).

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    Hunter, G., Biochem. J., 22, 4 (1928).

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    Work, E., Lancet (i), 652 (1949).

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Author information


  1. Department of Chemical Pathology, University College Hospital Medical School, London, W.C.1

    • H. HEATH
    • , A. LAWSON
    •  & C. RIMINGTON
  2. Department of Chemistry, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London, W.C.1

    • H. HEATH
    • , A. LAWSON
    •  & C. RIMINGTON


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