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Communication | Regular issue | Vol 32, No. 12, 1991, pp.2305-2309
Published online, 1st January, 1970
DOI: 10.3987/COM-91-5862
Studies with Plant Cell Cultures of Podophyllum peltatum L. I. Production of Podophyllotoxin, Deoxypodophyllotoxin, Podophyllotoxone, and 4’-Demethylpodophyllotoxin

James P. Kutney,* Masao Arimoto, Gary M. Hewitt, Terence C. Jarvis, and Ko Sakata

*Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, 2036 Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z1, Canada


Podophyllotoxin (1) isolated from living plants of Podophyllum peltatum L., is presently the starting material for the commercial production of the clinical anti-cancer drug etoposide. A two-step chemical conversion of 1 affords the analogue, 4’-demethylepipodophyllotoxin (2) and the latter, via a five step chemical process, provides this important drug. The direct production of 1 and/or its appropriate analogues via processes which do not depend on the living plant would provide an attractive alternative route to this compound. The first successful development of a stable plant cell culture line of P. peltatum which provides 1 and its analogues, deoxypodophyllotoxin (3), podophyllotoxone (4) and 4’-demethylpodophyllotoxin (5), via fermentation techniques is described.