2013 Volume 89 Issue 8 Pages 349-369
Natural sterols often occur as a heterogeneous mixture of homologs, which had disturbed the progress of steroid research. Development and application of GC methodology overcame this difficulty and enabled us to obtain detailed sterol profiles. Together, fine synthesis of stereo-defined isomers and homologs of steroids having oxygenated side chains allowed us to compare them with natural samples as well as to investigate structure-activity relationship. Advance of HPLC technology also facilitated the determination of the stereochemical structure of naturally occurring steroidal compounds, which were obtained only in minute amounts. This review highlights three topics out of our steroid research that have been performed mainly at Tokyo Institute of Technology around 1970–1990. These are sterol metabolism in insects focusing on the mechanism of the conversion of plant sterols to cholesterol and ecdysone biosynthesis, the synthesis and biochemical research of active forms of vitamin D3 derivatives, and the synthesis and microanalysis of plant hormone brassinosteroids.
(Communicated by Satoshi Omura, M.J.A.)