Nucleophilic Substitution at the 4‘-Position of Nucleosides: New Access to a Promising Anti-HIV Agent 2‘,3‘-Didehydro-3‘-deoxy-4‘-ethynylthymidine

For the synthesis of 2‘,3‘-didehydro-3‘-deoxy-4‘-ethynylthymidine (8:  4‘-Ed4T), a recently reported promising anti-HIV agent, a new approach was developed. Since treatment of 1-(2,5-dideoxy-β-l-glycero-pent-4-enofuranosyl)thymine with Pb(OBz)4 allowed the introduction of the 4‘-benzoyloxy leaving group, nucleophilic substitution at the 4‘-position became feasible for the first time. Thus, reaction between the 4‘-benzoyloxy derivative (14) and Me3SiC⋮CAl(Et)Cl as a nucleophile led to the isolation of the desired 4‘-“down”-ethynyl derivative (18) stereoselectively in 62% yield. As an application of this approach, other 4‘-substituted nucleosides, such as the 4‘-allyl (24a) and 4‘-cyano (26a) derivatives, were synthesized using organosilicon reagents. In these instances, pretreatment of 14 with MeAlCl2 was necessary.