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Heterocyclic Amaryllidaceae Alkaloids: Biosynthesis and Pharmacological Applications

[ Vol. 17 , Issue. 4 ]


Tarun Hotchandani and Isabel Desgagne-Penix   Pages 418 - 427 ( 10 )


Amaryllidaceae alkaloids (AAs), which are natural heterocyclic compounds, are isolated from Amaryllidaceae plants such as narcissus, snowdrop and spider lily. AAs have been extensively studied due to their multiple pharmacological properties. Nevertheless, knowledge of AA synthesis in plants is lacking and most genes encoding enzymes involved in their production remain unknown. AAs are structurally complex compounds which are challenging for total chemical synthesis that is economically viable. Therefore the understanding of AA biosynthesis could allow for the development of biotechnologies for the production of natural AAs or analogues, maintaining or improving their pharmacological properties. In this review, we describe the progress regarding the biosynthesis and pharmacological properties of AAs. The most recent developments in neurological, anti-cancer and anti-microbial bioactivities of heterocyclic AAs are covered.


Alkaloids, Amaryllidaceae, Biosynthetic pathways, Plant secondary metabolism, Galanthamine.


Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics, Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, 3351 boulevard des Forges, Trois-Rivieres, QC, G9A 5H7, Canada.

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