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J Am Chem Soc. 2001 Jun 6;123(22):5249-59.

Insights into long-range structural effects on the stereochemistry of aldol condensations: a practical total synthesis of desoxyepothilone F.

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Contribution from The Laboratories for Bioorganic Chemistry, and Preclinical Pharmacology, The Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, 1275 York Avenue, New York, New York 10021, USA.


A processable total synthesis of a potent antitumor agent, desoxyepothilone F (dEpoF, 21-hydroxy-12,13-desoxyepothilone B, 21-hydroxyepothilone D), has been accomplished. The route is highly convergent. The new technology has also been applied to a total synthesis of 12,13-desoxyepothilone (dEpoB). The crucial point of departure from previous syntheses of dEpoB and dEpoF involves presentation of the C1-C11 sector for Suzuki coupling with C3 in reduced form. Hitherto, the required S stereochemistry at C3 had been implemented via reduction of a keto function after Suzuki coupling. Whereas that chemistry worked quite well in a synthesis of dEpoB, it was not transferable to a high-yielding synthesis of dEpoF. The reduction of the keto group at C3 via a Noyori protocol after Suzuki coupling had proved to be very difficult. In our current approach, two consecutive aldol reactions are used to fashion the acyl sector. In the first aldol condensation, C6 becomes attached to C7. Following protection at C7, a two-carbon acetate equivalent is used to join C2 and C3 with very high asymmetric induction at C3. Only after this center has been implemented is the Suzuki reaction conducted. This major advance allowed us to synthesize dEpoF in a straightforward fashion. These findings found ready application in the total synthesis of dEpoB. Another part of the study involved analysis of the factors associated with aldol condensations joining C6 to C7. In the work described herein, the consequences of the status of C3 in promoting the C6-C7 aldol coupling are probed in detail. Dramatic stereochemical long-range effects uncovered during the study are described, and a working model to explain these effects has emerged.

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