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Diversity in Chemical Structures and Biological Properties of Plant Alkaloids

CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Plant Molecular Biology Unit, Biochemical Sciences Division, Dr. Homi Bhabha Road, Pune 411008, Maharashtra, India
Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Ghaziabad 201002, Uttar Pradesh, India
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ana Paula Duarte, Eugenia Gallardo and Ângelo Luís
Received: 28 February 2021 / Revised: 23 April 2021 / Accepted: 23 April 2021 / Published: 3 June 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products: Therapeutic Properties and Beyond)
Phytochemicals belonging to the group of alkaloids are signature specialized metabolites endowed with countless biological activities. Plants are armored with these naturally produced nitrogenous compounds to combat numerous challenging environmental stress conditions. Traditional and modern healthcare systems have harnessed the potential of these organic compounds for the treatment of many ailments. Various chemical entities (functional groups) attached to the central moiety are responsible for their diverse range of biological properties. The development of the characterization of these plant metabolites and the enzymes involved in their biosynthesis is of an utmost priority to deliver enhanced advantages in terms of biological properties and productivity. Further, the incorporation of whole/partial metabolic pathways in the heterologous system and/or the overexpression of biosynthetic steps in homologous systems have both become alternative and lucrative methods over chemical synthesis in recent times. Moreover, in-depth research on alkaloid biosynthetic pathways has revealed numerous chemical modifications that occur during alkaloidal conversions. These chemical reactions involve glycosylation, acylation, reduction, oxidation, and methylation steps, and they are usually responsible for conferring the biological activities possessed by alkaloids. In this review, we aim to discuss the alkaloidal group of plant specialized metabolites and their brief classification covering major categories. We also emphasize the diversity in the basic structures of plant alkaloids arising through enzymatically catalyzed structural modifications in certain plant species, as well as their emerging diverse biological activities. The role of alkaloids in plant defense and their mechanisms of action are also briefly discussed. Moreover, the commercial utilization of plant alkaloids in the marketplace displaying various applications has been enumerated. View Full-Text
Keywords: alkaloid; biological activity; classification; modification; enzyme; defense alkaloid; biological activity; classification; modification; enzyme; defense
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bhambhani, S.; Kondhare, K.R.; Giri, A.P. Diversity in Chemical Structures and Biological Properties of Plant Alkaloids. Molecules 2021, 26, 3374.

AMA Style

Bhambhani S, Kondhare KR, Giri AP. Diversity in Chemical Structures and Biological Properties of Plant Alkaloids. Molecules. 2021; 26(11):3374.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bhambhani, Sweta, Kirtikumar R. Kondhare, and Ashok P. Giri 2021. "Diversity in Chemical Structures and Biological Properties of Plant Alkaloids" Molecules 26, no. 11: 3374.

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