A Unifying Paradigm for Naphthoquinone-Based Meroterpenoid (Bio)synthesis

Jonathan George and Bradley Moore present their joint work on naphthoquinone-based meroterpenoid (bio)synthesis.

Over the past 30 years a large number of diverse and fascinating meroterpenoid natural products have been isolated from marine bacteria, including the merochlorins, the napyradiomycins (of which naphthomevalin is the simplest example), and the marinones. According to Professor Jonathan H. George, from the University of Adelaide (Australia), these families of natural products are biosynthesized and derived from 1,3,6,8-tetrahydroxynaphthalene, but the mechanisms of these biosynthetic pathways were unclear before his collaborative work with Professor Bradley S. Moore’s group at the University of California San Diego (USA) started.”

The George research group is broadly interested in the development of biomimetic cascade reactions for the rapid synthesis of complex meroterpenoid natural products. Professor Moore was always fascinated with the chemical structures of the naphthoquinone-based meroterpenoid natural products for many years and has marveled on how microbes assemble these antimicrobial molecules by combining polyketide and terpenoid chemistry. Little did he know then that half way around the world, Professor George’s lab was similarly intrigued with these molecules, yet from a synthetic point of view. In this article, they share the story of their collaboration which started in 2015.

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