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Iminosugars. From Synthesis to Therapeutic Applications. Edited by Philippe Compain and OlivierR. Martin

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Edited by Wolfgang
Kaim and Axel Klein.
Royal Society of
Chemistry, Cambridge 2008.
235 pp., hardcover
£ 79.95.—ISBN
It is a very considerable time since a
dedicated textbook was published in the
area of spectroelectrochemistry, an area
well defined by Kaim and Klein in their
short preface as “the combination of
reaction-oriented electrochemistry with
species-focused spectroscopy”. Electrochemistry is currently an area of huge
significance and impact, which underpins areas as diverse as energy conversion and storage, nanotechnology, chemical sensing, and biophysical chemistry,
and also has a major industrial impact
worldwide in the production of aluminum, nylon, and chlorine. Spectroscopic
methods have played an integral part at
the heart of such research for 2–3
decades and are constantly evolving
and changing.
The authors (there are 14 of them
responsible for the seven chapters) and
publishers of Spectroelectrochemistry
have seized a timely opportunity. They
define their book as being intended “to
serve as a guide and as an illustration of
the kind of research where [spectroelectrochemistry] can make a difference in
the understanding of redox reactions
through identification of their intermediates and products”. This they solidly
accomplish, and the examples covered
include organometallics, coordination
compounds (mixed-valence complexes,
metalloporphyrins), compounds of biological interest such as iron-containing
proteins, and carbon-rich organometallic complexes. The spectroscopy is
focused on infrared, UV/visible, and
EPR, but not at all on Raman, NMR,
or fluorescence spectroscopies, despite
conspicuous advances in the latter areas.
This selective focus appears to arise
from the choice to make this book an
illustrative guide, and it also leads to
almost all the chapters being mainly
concerned with chemical results in the
usually interesting areas covered by the
respective chapters. As such, there is
relatively little material to enable novices to make a start with the practicalities
of spectroelectrochemical measurements, or indeed to aid them with the
interpretation of their results, unless the
systems they have studied happen to
coincide closely with those covered in
one of the chapters of the book. Significantly, the reader is left with little or no
perspective of what can or cannot be
accomplished by the different techniques—issues such as sensitivity or limitations are at best only implicitly
Overall, I was surprised and disappointed with the content of the book, and
felt that an important opportunity had
been missed; the increasing numbers of
scientists concerned with electrochemistry and related research will have to seek
guidance to the practicalities and subtleties of electrochemical spectroscopic
measurements elsewhere, either through
old and dated textbooks, or through
recourse to the original literature. It is
possibly insightful to note that the publisher is the Royal Society of Chemistry, a
UK-based professional body that publishes on the financial back of its members subscriptions; I doubt if any commercial publisher would have produced
Spectroelectrochemistry in its final form.
Although it has become common to
knock the large scientific publishing
houses, we should recognize that commercial pressures can and often do translate into academic quality and utility.
Richard G. Compton
University of Oxford (UK)
2008 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
From Synthesis to
Therapeutic Applications. Edited by
Philippe Compain
and Olivier R.
Martin. John Wiley
& Sons, Hoboken
2007. 467 pp.,
E 125.00.—ISBN
Iminosugars have been the subject of
intensive studies at the interface
between organic synthesis, glycobiology,
and medical science since the discovery
of their remarkable biological activities
as glycosidase inhibitors in the 1970s. In
the last ten years the rate of discoveries
has increased dramatically. Now Philippe Compain and Olivier R. Martin
have brought together some of the
leading investigators in this field and
edited an interdisciplinary book devoted
to iminosugars and the latest developments in research. This monograph
covers a wide range of aspects, from
the synthesis of these carbohydrate
mimics to their clinical applications.
Specific topics of research are presented
in detail in 14 chapters.
After an introductory part by the
editors themselves about the history of
iminosugars as therapeutic agents, the
book continues with a short chapter
about structures, effects, and applications of naturally occurring iminosugars.
The following chapter describes general
strategies for the synthesis of iminosugars. Attention is focused on innovative
approaches for the generation of large
iminosugar libraries. Both synthetic and
retrosynthetic approaches are presented, in well-arranged reaction
schemes. That is followed by two chapters of about 50 pages altogether, which
are devoted to the important structural
classes of iminosugar C-glycosides and
imino-C-disaccharides. Methods for
their synthesis, classified by individual
key steps and their biological activity,
are reviewed.
In the further course of the book,
iminosugars are considered from a more
biological point of view, as inhibitors of
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 9378 – 9379
glycosidases, glycosyl transferases, and
N-ribosyl transferases. In the following
chapters, synthesis is increasingly relegated to a back seat, and the focus is on
modes of action and structure–activity
relationships. Chapters 9–13 are
devoted to therapeutic applications,
which take up a large part of the book,
and the reader gains a good understanding of the pharmaceutical aspects of
iminosugar research. Antiviral and antitumor effects of several compounds are
discussed, as well as important strategies
for the chemotherapeutic treatment of
lysosomal diseases (chaperone therapy,
substrate reduction therapy). The book
ends with extensive tables correlating
the structures of more than 600 iminosugars with their biological activity.
To cut a long story short, the simultaneous application of chemical, biological, and medicinal disciplines to studies
of iminosugars closes the gap between
these sciences. The editors have succeeded in providing a well-balanced
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 9378 – 9379
collection of the most important aspects
in the field of iminosugar research. All
the contributors present concise and
factual descriptions of their areas of
research, which make very worthwhile
reading. As in most multi-authored
surveys, it has not been possible to
completely avoid overlap, and some
aspects are covered in several chapters.
However, some authors have overcome
that problem by referring to other
chapters where the relevant topic is
elaborated. Despite the great wealth of
information presented, the reader can
easily find a topic of special interest
through the table of contents. This is
helped by the division of the material
into short subchapters concerned with
specific structural classes and their
modes of action. The detailed subject
index is also very helpful for the reader.
Each chapter ends with an extensive
bibliography covering literature from
2000 onward. There are many references to publications in 2007, showing that
the monograph gives an up-to-date
account of progress in the field. I did
not detect any serious mistakes.
In summary, Philippe Compain and
Olivier R. Martin present an excellent
review of many aspects of iminosugars
and discuss selected topics explicitly and
clearly. The book is not addressed to the
general reader but to academic and
industrial researchers who are active in
the fields covered. The editors stated
intention to facilitate and stimulate
further research by relating structure
to properties is well fulfilled. This monograph should be a valuable tool for the
development of new powerful inhibitors
based on iminosugars.
Katja Krmer
Institut fr Organische Chemie
Universitt des Saarlandes, Saarbrcken
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200785623
2008 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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martin, synthesis, application, iminosugars, therapeutic, compain, edited, olivier, philippe
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