A Substituted Hypersensitive Radical Probe for Enzyme-Catalyzed Hydroxylations:  Synthesis of Racemic and Enantiomerically Enriched Forms and Application in a Cytochrome P450-Catalyzed Oxidation

The syntheses of racemic and enantiomerically enriched trans-1-methyl-2-(4-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl)cyclopropane (3) and the possible oxidation products from enzyme-catalyzed hydroxylation of 3 at the methyl group are reported. The important intermediate in the production of 3 was the Weinreb amide of the 2-arylcyclopropanecarboxylic acid which could be prepared in diastereomerically pure form and which also served as an intermediate for production of the cyclic oxidation products of 3. Hydroxylation of 3 by the cytochrome P450 isozyme CYP2B1 gave cyclic and ring-opened products. The product ratios support an insertion mechanism for the enzyme-catalyzed hydroxylation reaction in which minor amounts of rearranged products are produced by radical fragmentation within the transition structure of the insertion and by a competing reaction involving a cationic species. Formation of cationic rearrangement products by a heterolytic fragmentation reaction of a first-formed protonated alcohol product is suggested on the basis of the apparent amounts of cationic products formed in the hydroxylation of 3. This pathway for cation production appears to require that the activated enzyme complex (equivalent to enzyme−substrate−H2O2) oxidizes substrate before water dissociates to give an iron−oxo species.