Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Vol.56, No.1-2, 9-16, 2001
Pharmaceutically relevant metabolites from lichens
Lichen metabolites exert a wide variety of biological actions including antibiotic, antimycobacterial, antiviral, and inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects. Even though these manifold activities of lichen metabolites have now been recognized, their therapeutic potential has not yet been fully explored and thus remains pharmaceutically unexploited. In this mini-review, particular attention is paid to the most common classes of small-molecule constituents of lichens, from both the chemical viewpoint and with regard to possible therapeutic implications. In particular, aliphatic acids, pulvinic acid derivatives, depsides and depsidones, dibenzofuans, anthraquinones, naphthoquinones as well as epidithiopiperazinediones are described. An improved access to these lichen substances in drug discovery high-throughput screening programs will provide impetus for identifying novel lead-compounds with therapeutic potential and poses new challenges for medicinal chemistry.