Carbohydrates as Building Blocks for the Synthesis of Medicinally Important Molecules

Rajan Salwan*

A wide array of natural products are characterized by the presence of carbohydrate entities. Apart from oligo and polysaccharides, these include glycolipids and glycoproteins. Together, these glycoconjugates play a role in many different biological processes. Organic chemists are faced with the challenge to prepare suitable quantities of specific glycoconjugates, and their synthetic analogues, in order to unravel these processes. Fortunately, the monosaccharide building blocks, of which glycoconjugates are assembled, are in most cases available in large quantities and glycoconjugate synthetic studies are largely devoted to the development of efficient strategies to interconvert and oligomerise these monosaccharides. The accessibility of monosaccharides as cheap chiral starting materials that are endowed with multiple functional groups has inspired organic chemists to use them as starting material in the total synthesis of a wide range of complex natural products, compounds that, other than glycoconjugates, do not necessarily contain carbohydrate entities in their structure.

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Hamdard University
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Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research
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