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Copy, edit, and paste: natural product approaches to biomaterials and neuroengineering


Gademann, Karl (2015). Copy, edit, and paste: natural product approaches to biomaterials and neuroengineering. Accounts of chemical research, 48(3):731-739.

Abstract

Progress in the chemical sciences has formed the world we live in, both on a macroscopic and on a nanoscopic scale. The last century witnessed the development of high performance materials that interact with humans on many layers, from clothing to construction, from media to medical devices. On a molecular level, natural products and their derivatives influence many biological processes, and these compounds have enormously contributed to the health and quality of living of humans. Although coatings of stone materials with oils or resins (containing natural products) have led to improved tools already millennia ago, in contrast today, natural product approaches to designer materials, that is, combining the best of both worlds, remain scarce. In this Account, we will summarize our recent research efforts directed to the generation of natural product functionalized materials, exploiting the strategy of “copy, edit, and paste with natural products”. Natural products embody the wisdom of evolution, and only total synthesis is able to unlock the secrets enshrined in their molecular structure. We employ total synthesis (“copy”) as a scientific approach to address problems related to molecular structure, the biosynthesis of natural products, and their bioactivity. Additionally, the fundamental desire to investigate the mechanism of action of natural products constitutes a key driver for scientific inquiry. In an emerging area of relevance to society, we have prepared natural products such as militarinone D that can stimulate neurite outgrowth and facilitate nerve regeneration. This knowledge obtained by synthetic organic chemistry on complex natural products can then be used to design structurally simplified compounds that retain the biological power of the parent natural product (“edit”). This process, sometimes referred to as function-oriented synthesis, allows obtaining derivatives with better properties, improving their chemical tractability and reducing the step count of the synthesis. Along these lines, we have demonstrated that militarinone D can be truncated to yield structurally simplified analogs with improved activity. Finally, with the goal of designing bioactive materials, we have immobilized functionally optimized, neuritogenic natural products (“paste”). These materials could facilitate nerve regeneration, act as nerve guidance conduits, or lead to new approaches in neuroengineering. Based on the surface-adhesive properties of electron-deficient catecholates and the knowledge gathered on neuritogenic natural product derivatives, two mechanistically different design principles have been applied to generate neuritogenic materials. In conclusion, natural products, and their functionally optimized analogs, present a large, mostly untapped reservoir of powerful modulators of biological systems, and their hybridization with materials can lead to new approaches in various fields, from biofilm prevention to neuroengineering.

Abstract

Progress in the chemical sciences has formed the world we live in, both on a macroscopic and on a nanoscopic scale. The last century witnessed the development of high performance materials that interact with humans on many layers, from clothing to construction, from media to medical devices. On a molecular level, natural products and their derivatives influence many biological processes, and these compounds have enormously contributed to the health and quality of living of humans. Although coatings of stone materials with oils or resins (containing natural products) have led to improved tools already millennia ago, in contrast today, natural product approaches to designer materials, that is, combining the best of both worlds, remain scarce. In this Account, we will summarize our recent research efforts directed to the generation of natural product functionalized materials, exploiting the strategy of “copy, edit, and paste with natural products”. Natural products embody the wisdom of evolution, and only total synthesis is able to unlock the secrets enshrined in their molecular structure. We employ total synthesis (“copy”) as a scientific approach to address problems related to molecular structure, the biosynthesis of natural products, and their bioactivity. Additionally, the fundamental desire to investigate the mechanism of action of natural products constitutes a key driver for scientific inquiry. In an emerging area of relevance to society, we have prepared natural products such as militarinone D that can stimulate neurite outgrowth and facilitate nerve regeneration. This knowledge obtained by synthetic organic chemistry on complex natural products can then be used to design structurally simplified compounds that retain the biological power of the parent natural product (“edit”). This process, sometimes referred to as function-oriented synthesis, allows obtaining derivatives with better properties, improving their chemical tractability and reducing the step count of the synthesis. Along these lines, we have demonstrated that militarinone D can be truncated to yield structurally simplified analogs with improved activity. Finally, with the goal of designing bioactive materials, we have immobilized functionally optimized, neuritogenic natural products (“paste”). These materials could facilitate nerve regeneration, act as nerve guidance conduits, or lead to new approaches in neuroengineering. Based on the surface-adhesive properties of electron-deficient catecholates and the knowledge gathered on neuritogenic natural product derivatives, two mechanistically different design principles have been applied to generate neuritogenic materials. In conclusion, natural products, and their functionally optimized analogs, present a large, mostly untapped reservoir of powerful modulators of biological systems, and their hybridization with materials can lead to new approaches in various fields, from biofilm prevention to neuroengineering.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:540 Chemistry
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:22 Aug 2017 16:18
Last Modified:22 Aug 2017 16:18
Publisher:American Chemical Society (ACS)
ISSN:0001-4842
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1021/ar500435b
PubMed ID:25719515

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