A preliminary chapter is used to outline the main building blocks and the basic construction mechanisms employed in the biosynthesis of natural products. Many of these fundamental principles should be familiar, having been met previously in courses dealing with the fundamentals of organic chemistry and biochemistry. These principles are then seen in action as representative natural product structures are described in the following chapters. These are subdivided initially into areas of metabolism fed by the acetate, shikimate, meval-onate and deoxyxylulose phosphate pathways. Remaining chapters then cover alkaloids, peptides and proteins, and carbohydrates. The book tries to include a high proportion of those natural products currently used in medicine, the major drugs that are derived from natural materials by semi-synthesis, and those drugs which are structural analogues. Some of the compounds mentioned may have a significant biological activity which is of interest, but not medicinally useful. The book is also designed to be forward looking and gives information on possible leads to new drugs. A selection of supplementary reading references is provided at the end of each chapter; these are limited as far as possible to recent review articles in easily accessible journals rather than books, and have been chosen as student friendly.
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