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J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Jan 12;127(1):18-9.

Total synthesis of absinthin.

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Laboratory of Modern Synthetic Organic Chemistry and State Key Laboratory of Bioorganic and Natural Products Chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China 200032.


(+)-Absinthin, a structurally unique triterpene, has been efficiently constructed in nine reaction steps and in 18.6% overall yield from O-acetylisophotosantonic lactone. The synthesis features Mitsunobu arylselenylation, oxidative elimination of allylic arylselenides, biomimetic dimerization via regio- and stereospecific Diels-Alder reaction, and a four-step stereochemical inversion of a highly sterically congested tertiary alcohol. This approach has not only tackled the formidable synthetic challenges in assembling structurally complex (+)-absinthin but also paved an efficient synthetic route to a series of medicinally attractive absinthin analogues.

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