Molecules 2020 Jan 19;25(2). Epub 2020 Jan 19.
Center for Life Nano Science@Sapienza, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Viale Regina Elena 291, 00161 Rome, Italy.
The Pictet-Spengler reaction (P-S) is one of the most direct, efficient, and variable synthetic method for the construction of privileged pharmacophores such as tetrahydro-isoquinolines (THIQs), tetrahydro-β-carbolines (THBCs), and polyheterocyclic frameworks. In the (five-year period) following its centenary birthday, the P-S reaction did not exit the stage but it came up again on limelight with new features. This review focuses on the interesting results achieved in this period (2011-2015), analyzing the versatility of this reaction. Classic P-S was reported in the total synthesis of complex alkaloids, in combination with chiral catalysts as well as for the generation of libraries of compounds in medicinal chemistry. The P-S has been used also in tandem reactions, with the sequences including ring closing metathesis, isomerization, Michael addition, and Gold- or Brønsted acid-catalyzed -acyliminium cyclization. Moreover, the combination of P-S reaction with Ugi multicomponent reaction has been exploited for the construction of highly complex polycyclic architectures in few steps and high yields. The P-S reaction has also been successfully employed in solid-phase synthesis, affording products with different structures, including peptidomimetics, synthetic heterocycles, and natural compounds. Finally, the enzymatic version of P-S has been reported for biosynthesis, biotransformations, and bioconjugations.