New Diazo Reagents and Applications of ?-Lactones for Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Natural Products



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Natural products are essential tools for basic cellular studies leading to the identification of medically relevant protein targets and the discovery of potential therapeutic agents. We have developed a set of second generation diazo reagents with small steric footprints, namely an alpha-trifluoroethyl (HTFB) diazo reagent, for simultaneous arming and SAR studies of bioactive natural products. The Rh(II)-catalyzed O-H insertions of several alcohol-containing natural products, including the potent translation inhibitor lactimidomycin, are investigated and useful reactivity and both chemo- and site- (chemosite) selectivities are observed. The alpha-trifluoroethyl diazo reagents (HTFB) shows clear differences in the IL-2 reporter assay with FK506 derivatives and provides greater retention of biological activity in a hMetAP2 proliferation assay of fumagillol derivatives compared to the first generation pbromophenyl diazo reagent (HBPA). The synthetic utilities of the new alpha-trifluoroethyl diazo reagent (HTFB) provide a great new tool for basic cellular studies facilitating the discovery of new drug candidates for human disease.

Furthermore, we are interested in methodologies for beta-lactone synthesis and transformations. In this study, we demonstrated synthetic versatilities of beta-lactones for the synthesis of beta-lactam congeners of orlistat as fatty acid synthase inhibitors via SnCl4- promoted tandem Mukaiyama aldol-lactonization (TMAL) reaction and a one-pot, mild conversion of beta-lactones to beta-lactams. The inhibitory activities of the derived beta-lactam derivatives are determined in a biochemical fluorogenic assay using recombinant FASTE, and the micro-molar range FAS-TE inhibitory activities were observed.

Additionally, we pursued synthetic studies toward the total synthesis of spongiolactone, which is a unique beta-lactone-containing marine diterpenoid, isolated from the marine sponge Spongionella gracilis. This natural product bears a unique tricyclic beta-lactone core possessing four contiguous stereogenic centers and an additional stereogenic quaternary carbon on a cyclohexyl appendage. We completed the total synthesis of 6,15-bis-epi-spongiolactone by employing an intramolecular nucleophilecatalyzed aldol-lactonization (NCAL) process as the key step to construct the fused tricyclic beta-lactone core. Importantly, we developed a double diastereoselective and, for the first time, a kinetic resolution via the NCAL process that enables an enantioselective strategy to the tricyclic beta-lactone core of (+)-spongiolactone.