Molecule of the Week

Nepetalactone

February 15, 2010

(+)-cis,trans-Nepetalactone is the primary psychoactive ingredient in catnip (Nepeta cataria). It was isolated in 1941 by S. M. McElvain and co-workers; and it was the first fully characterized methylcyclopentane monoterpenoid. In 2009, M. Christmann and coauthors used cis,trans-nepetalactone as the starting material to synthesize (+)-englerin A, a promising kidney cancer drug candidate. The synthesis confirmed the absolute configuration of natural englerin A.