Biosynthesis and function of polyacetylenes and allied natural products

Prog Lipid Res. 2008 Jul;47(4):233-306. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2008.02.002. Epub 2008 Mar 13.


Polyacetylenic natural products are a substantial class of often unstable compounds containing a unique carbon-carbon triple bond functionality, that are intriguing for their wide variety of biochemical and ecological functions, economic potential, and surprising mode of biosynthesis. Isotopic tracer experiments between 1960 and 1990 demonstrated that the majority of these compounds are derived from fatty acid and polyketide precursors. During the past decade, research into the metabolism of polyacetylenes has swiftly advanced, driven by the cloning of the first genes responsible for polyacetylene biosynthesis in plants, moss, fungi, and actinomycetes and the initial characterization of the gene products. The current state of knowledge of the biochemistry and molecular genetics of polyacetylenic secondary metabolic pathways will be presented together with an up-to-date survey of new terrestrial and marine natural products, their known biological activities, and a discussion of their likely metabolic origins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plants / metabolism*
  • Polyynes / metabolism*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Polyynes