Recent Advances in Monosaccharide Synthesis: A Journey into L-Hexose World

ChemInform 12/2009; 13(1). DOI: 10.2174/138527209787193828


Last years have witnessed enormous progresses in glycomic field, mainly as a consequence of the crucial role carbohydrates have shown in biological systems. While up to a few years ago attention was mainly focused on the use of easily available D-sugars, a recent interest has emerged around their L-enantiomers, as they have been found to be key components of several bioactive compounds, whether in the form of oligosaccharides, glycopeptides, terpene glycosides or other clinically useful agents. However, L-sugars (L-hexoses especially) are rather rare in nature and not easily accessi-ble from inexpensive sources. As demand for their synthesis in considerable amount and high purity is more and more pressing, intense efforts have been addressed to the development of new and general methodologies for their construction. This review covers the synthetic routes to L-hexoses, mainly those coming from the new century. Methodologies for monosaccharide assembly will comprise de novo approaches, based on carbon chain elongation, hetero Diels-Alder reac-tion, asymmetric dihydroxylation up to the most recent amino acid-catalyzed aldol addition – as well as D-sugar manipula-tion strategies, including epimerization by chemical or enzymatic methods. Application of such protocols for the construc-tion of biologically relevant oligosaccharides and natural products will be also briefly mentioned.

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