Background: Chiral three-membered heterocycles occupy a special place in medicinal and
pharmaceutical chemistry related to their diversity of biological activities due to the strain incorporated
in their skeletons. This review covers developments reported in the last thirteen years in asymmetric
epoxidation, aziridination, azirination and thiirination applied to the synthesis of biologically relevant
or natural three-membered heterocycles.
Results: This short review includes 63 references dedicated to the synthesis of natural and/or biologically
relevant three-membered heterocycles based on asymmetric epoxidation in a first section, aziridination
in a second section, azirination in a third section and thiirination in a fourth section.
Conclusion: This review demonstrates that in the past thirteen years, a number of biologically relevant
three-membered heterocycles, including chiral epoxides, aziridines, azirines, and even thiiranes, have
been synthesized on the basis of asymmetric epoxidation, aziridination, azirination, and thiirination
methodologies. The multipurpose synthetic applicability and biologically activity of three-membered
heterocycles will facilitate the medicinal chemists to plan, design and implement new approaches towards
the discovery of novel drugs.