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Nat Chem Biol. 2012 Mar 11;8(4):358-65. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.911.

A diversity-oriented synthesis approach to macrocycles via oxidative ring expansion.

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Molecular Pharmacology & Chemistry Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


Macrocycles are key structural elements in numerous bioactive small molecules and are attractive targets in the diversity-oriented synthesis of natural product-based libraries. However, efficient and systematic access to diverse collections of macrocycles has proven difficult using classical macrocyclization reactions. To address this problem, we have developed a concise, modular approach to the diversity-oriented synthesis of macrolactones and macrolactams involving oxidative cleavage of a bridging double bond in polycyclic enol ethers and enamines. These substrates are assembled in only four or five synthetic steps and undergo ring expansion to afford highly functionalized macrocycles bearing handles for further diversification. In contrast to macrocyclization reactions of corresponding seco acids, the ring expansion reactions are efficient and insensitive to ring size and stereochemistry, overcoming key limitations of conventional approaches to systematic macrocycle synthesis. Cheminformatic analysis indicates that these macrocycles access regions of chemical space that overlap with natural products, distinct from currently targeted synthetic drugs.

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