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Published August 9, 2023 | Published
Journal Article Open

Recent Advances in the Total Synthesis of the Tetrahydroisoquinoline Alkaloids (2002–2020)

  • 1. ROR icon California Institute of Technology


The tetrahydroisoquinoline (THIQ) natural products constitute one of the largest families of alkaloids and exhibit a wide range of structural diversity and biological activity. Ranging from simple THIQ natural products to complex trisTHIQ alkaloids such as the ecteinascidins, the chemical syntheses of these alkaloids and their analogs have been thoroughly investigated due to their intricate structural features and functionalities, as well as their high therapeutic potential. This review describes the general structure and biosynthesis of each family of THIQ alkaloids as well as recent advancements of the total synthesis of these natural products from 2002 to 2020. Recent chemical syntheses that have emerged harnessing novel, creative synthetic design, and modern chemical methodology will be highlighted. This review will hopefully serve as a guide for the unique strategies and tools used in the total synthesis of THIQ alkaloids, as well as address the longstanding challenges in their chemical and biosynthesis.

Additional Information

© 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) We thank NIH-NIGMS (R35GM145239) and the Heritage Medical Research Investigator Program for financial support of our research program. Author Contributions: The paper was written through contributions of all authors. All authors have given approval to the final version of the paper. The authors declare no competing financial interest.

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Published - acs.chemrev.3c00054.pdf


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August 22, 2023
January 18, 2024