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Nat Chem Biol. 2013 Jan;9(1):21-9. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1130. Epub 2012 Nov 18.

Biomimetic diversity-oriented synthesis of benzannulated medium rings via ring expansion.

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Tri-Institutional Training Program in Chemical Biology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.


Nature has exploited medium-sized 8- to 11-membered rings in a variety of natural products to address diverse and challenging biological targets. However, owing to the limitations of conventional cyclization-based approaches to medium-ring synthesis, these structures remain severely underrepresented in current probe and drug discovery efforts. To address this problem, we have established an alternative, biomimetic ring expansion approach to the diversity-oriented synthesis of medium-ring libraries. Oxidative dearomatization of bicyclic phenols affords polycyclic cyclohexadienones that undergo efficient ring expansion to form benzannulated medium-ring scaffolds found in natural products. The ring expansion reaction can be induced using three complementary reagents that avoid competing dienone-phenol rearrangements and is driven by rearomatization of a phenol ring adjacent to the scissile bond. Cheminformatic analysis of the resulting first-generation library confirms that these molecules occupy chemical space overlapping with medium-ring natural products and distinct from that of synthetic drugs and drug-like libraries.

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