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Review

Medically Useful Plant Terpenoids: Biosynthesis, Occurrence, and Mechanism of Action

1
Department of Cellular and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3G5, Canada
2
Department of Biology, University of Toronto–Mississauga, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ewa Swiezewska, Liliana Surmacz and Bernhard Loll
Molecules 2019, 24(21), 3961; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24213961
Received: 3 October 2019 / Revised: 25 October 2019 / Accepted: 30 October 2019 / Published: 1 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Isoprenoids)
Specialized plant terpenoids have found fortuitous uses in medicine due to their evolutionary and biochemical selection for biological activity in animals. However, these highly functionalized natural products are produced through complex biosynthetic pathways for which we have a complete understanding in only a few cases. Here we review some of the most effective and promising plant terpenoids that are currently used in medicine and medical research and provide updates on their biosynthesis, natural occurrence, and mechanism of action in the body. This includes pharmacologically useful plastidic terpenoids such as p-menthane monoterpenoids, cannabinoids, paclitaxel (taxol®), and ingenol mebutate which are derived from the 2-C-methyl-d-erythritol-4-phosphate (MEP) pathway, as well as cytosolic terpenoids such as thapsigargin and artemisinin produced through the mevalonate (MVA) pathway. We further provide a review of the MEP and MVA precursor pathways which supply the carbon skeletons for the downstream transformations yielding these medically significant natural products. View Full-Text
Keywords: isoprenoids; plant natural products; terpenoid biosynthesis; medicinal plants; terpene synthases; cytochrome P450s isoprenoids; plant natural products; terpenoid biosynthesis; medicinal plants; terpene synthases; cytochrome P450s
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bergman, M.E.; Davis, B.; Phillips, M.A. Medically Useful Plant Terpenoids: Biosynthesis, Occurrence, and Mechanism of Action. Molecules 2019, 24, 3961. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24213961

AMA Style

Bergman ME, Davis B, Phillips MA. Medically Useful Plant Terpenoids: Biosynthesis, Occurrence, and Mechanism of Action. Molecules. 2019; 24(21):3961. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24213961

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bergman, Matthew E., Benjamin Davis, and Michael A. Phillips. 2019. "Medically Useful Plant Terpenoids: Biosynthesis, Occurrence, and Mechanism of Action" Molecules 24, no. 21: 3961. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24213961

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