Meeting the demand for sugars: The importance of oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates in biological systems has stimulated a need to access significant amounts of these compounds. Much effort has been devoted to the stereoselective generation of the key glycosidic bond, both between carbohydrate residues (see scheme) and to the aglycone. Various methodologies are now available for the efficient synthesis of structurally defined complex oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates.
Increased understanding of the important roles that oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates play in biological processes has led to a demand for significant amounts of these materials for biological, medicinal, and pharmacological studies. Therefore, tremendous effort has been made to develop new procedures for the synthesis of glycosides, whereby the main focus is often the formation of the glycosidic bonds. Accordingly, quite a few review articles have been published over the past few years on glycoside synthesis; however, most are confined to either a specific type of glycoside or a specific strategy for glycoside synthesis. In this Review, new principles for the formation of glycoside bonds are discussed. Developments, mainly in the last ten years, that have led to significant advances in oligosaccharide and glycoconjugate synthesis have been compiled and are evaluated.