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Total synthesis

Towards artificial terpene cyclases

The plant-derived sesquiterpene englerin A is a potent inhibitor of several renal cancer cell lines. Two recent total syntheses have utilized cationic gold(I)-complexes to coax readily available open-chain precursors into englerin's challenging oxotricyclic core with enzyme-like precision.

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Figure 1: Comparison of the biosynthesis and the total synthesis of englerin A.


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Willot, M., Christmann, M. Towards artificial terpene cyclases. Nature Chem 2, 519–520 (2010).

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