Total syntheses of the neuroregenerative natural products vinaxanthone and xanthofulvin and biosynthetic studies
Axelrod, Abram Joseph
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Total syntheses of the neuroregenerative natural products vinaxanthone and xanthofulvin have been accomplished. The synthetic routes to both molecules utilize a highly regioselective furan Diels-Alder cycloaddition - aromatization sequence to furnish the catechol fragment present in both natural products. The pentasubstituted catechol was elaborated to a vinylogous amide which was used twice in both syntheses, exploiting the pseudosymmetry found in vinaxanthone and xanthofulvin. This approach enabled the dimerization of 5,6-dehydropolivione forming vinaxanthone, lending significant evidence to a non-enzymatically driven formation of vinaxanthone in Nature. The total synthesis of vinaxanthone was accomplished in nine steps, the shortest synthesis to date, and an additional route was devised to access a set of analogs for biological study. The first total synthesis of xanthofulvin was accomplished in 18 steps and the convergent nature of the synthetic plan allows for analog synthesis. The sets of vinaxanthone and xanthofulvin analogs will be used to examine their inhibition of Semaphorin3A, a protein which inhibits neuronal regeneration, and is the biological target for both molecules.