Indexed on: 30 Apr '14Published on: 30 Apr '14Published in: Chemical Society Reviews
Both natural products and synthetic organofluorines play important roles in the discovery and design of pharmaceuticals. The combination of these two classes of molecules has the potential to be useful in the ongoing search for new bioactive compounds but our ability to produce site-selectively fluorinated natural products remains limited by challenges in compatibility between their high structural complexity and current methods for fluorination. Living systems provide an alternative route to chemical fluorination and could enable the production of organofluorine natural products through synthetic biology approaches. While the identification of biogenic organofluorines has been limited, the study of the native organisms and enzymes that utilize these compounds can help to guide efforts to engineer the incorporation of this unusual element into complex pharmacologically active natural products. This review covers recent advances in understanding both natural and engineered production of organofluorine natural products.