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Org Lett. 2007 May 24;9(11):2183-6. Epub 2007 May 3.

Stereochemistry of water addition in triterpene synthesis: the structure of arabidiol.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA.


An oxidosqualene cyclase from Arabidopsis thaliana makes arabidiol, a tricyclic triterpene reported with indeterminate side-chain stereochemistry. We established the full structure of arabidiol through chemical degradation, NOE experiments, and molecular modeling. By examining the mechanistic constraints that govern water addition in triterpene synthesis, we further show how the stereochemistry of hydroxylation can generally be deduced a priori, why deprotonation is more common than hydroxylation, and why cyclases that perform hydroxylation also generate olefinic byproducts.

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