Sea Cucumbers Triterpene Glycosides, the Recent Progress in Structural Elucidation and Chemotaxonomy

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Triterpene glycosides are characteristic metabolites of sea cucumbers (Holothurioidea, Echinodermata). Majority of the glycosides belong to holostane type (lanostane derivatives with 18(20)-lactone). Carbohydrate chains of these glycosides contain xylose, glucose, quinovose, 3-O-methylglucose and 3-O-methyl sylose. During the last 5 years, main investigations were focused on holothurians belonging to the order Dendrochirotida collected in the North Pacific, North Atlantic, Antarctic and in subtropical waters. The glycosides of holothurians belonging to the order Aspidochirotida have also been studied. The most uncommon structural features of carbohydrate chains of new glycosides were: (1) the presence of quinovose as fifth terminal monosaccharide unit and the presence of two quinovose residues; (2) the presence of glucose instead of common xylose as fifth terminal monosaccharide unit; (3) trisaccharide carbohydrate chain; (4) the presence of two 3-O-methylxylose terminal monosaccharide units; (5) the presence of sulfate group at C-3 of quinovose residue. New glycosides without lactone or with 18(16)-lactone and having shortened side chains have also been isolated. The presence of 17α and 12α-hydroxyls, which are characteristic for glycosides from holothurians belonging to the family Holothuriidae (Aspidochirotida) in glycosides of dendrochirotids confirms parallel and relatively independent character of evolution of glycosides. All three families belonging to the order Aspidochirotida: Holothuriidae, Stichopodidae and Synallactidae have similar and parallel trends in evolution of the glycosides carbohydrate chains, namely from non-sulfated hexaosides to sulfated tetraosides. Sets of aglycones in glycosides from holothurians belonging to the genus Cucumaria (Cucumariidae, Dendrochirotida) are specific for each species. The carbohydrate chains are similar in all representatives of the genus Cucumaria.

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