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J Am Chem Soc. 2017 Nov 1;139(43):15460-15466. doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b08775. Epub 2017 Oct 20.

Site- and Stereoselective Chemical Editing of Thiostrepton by Rh-Catalyzed Conjugate Arylation: New Analogues and Collateral Enantioselective Synthesis of Amino Acids.

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Department of Chemistry, Yale University , New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8107, United States.


The synthesis of complex, biologically active molecules by catalyst-controlled, selective functionalization of complex molecules is an emerging capability. We describe the application of Rh-catalyzed conjugate arylation to the modification of thiostrepton, a complex molecule with potent antibacterial properties for which few analogues are known. By this approach, we achieve the site- and stereoselective functionalization of one subterminal dehydroalanine residue (Dha16) present in thiostrepton. The broad scope of this method enabled the preparation and isolation of 24 new analogues of thiostrepton, the biological testing of which revealed that the antimicrobial activity of thiostrepton tolerates the alteration of Dha16 to a range of amino acids. Further analysis of this Rh-catalyzed process revealed that use of sodium or potassium salts was crucial for achieving high stereoselectivity. The catalyst system was studied further by application to the synthesis of amino esters and amides from dehydroalanine monomers, a process which was found to occur with up to 93:7 er under conditions milder than those previously reported for analogous reactions. Furthermore, the addition of the same sodium and potassium salts as applied in the case of thiostrepton leads to a nearly full reversal of the enantioselectivity of the reaction. As such, this study of site-selective catalysis in a complex molecular setting also delivered synergistic insights in the arena of enantioselective catalysis. In addition, these studies greatly expand the number of known thiostrepton analogues obtained by any method and reveal a high level of functional group tolerance for metal-catalyzed, site-selective modifications of highly complex natural products.

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