Chemical reviews 2017 09 29() doi 10.1021/acs.chemrev.7b00001
Species of Nicotiana grow naturally in different parts of the world and have long been used both medicinally and recreationally by human societies. More recently in our history, Nicotiana tabacum has attracted interest as one of the most economically important industrial crops. Nicotiana species are frequently investigated for their bioactive natural products, and the ecological role of their specialized metabolites in responses to abiotic stress or biotic stress factors like pathogens and herbivores. The interest of tobacco companies in genetic information as well as the success of a few wild tobacco species as experimental model organisms have resulted in growing knowledge about the molecular biology and ecology of these plants and functional studies of the plant’s natural products. Although a large number of reviews and books on biologically active natural products already exists, mostly from N. tabacum, we focus our attention on the ecological roles and biological activity of natural products, versus products from cured and processed material, in this Review. The studied compounds include alkaloids, aromatic compounds, flavonoids, volatiles, sesquiterpenoids, diterpenes alcohols, and sugar esters from trichomes of the plants, and recently characterized acyclic hydroxygeranyllinalool diterpene glycosides (HGL-DTGs). In this Review (1800s-2017), we describe the above-mentioned classes of natural products, emphasizing their biological activities and functions as they have been determined either in bioassay-guided purification approaches or in bioassays with plants in which the expression of specific biosynthetic genes has been genetically manipulated. Additionally, a review on the history, taxonomy, ecology, and medicinal application of different Nicotiana species growing around the globe presented in this Review may be of interest for pharmacognosists, natural products, and ecological chemists.