Total Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Phidianidines A and B Uncovers Unique Pharmacological Profiles at CNS Targets

The synthesis of phidianidines A and B, the first 1,2,4-oxadiazole-containing alkaloid, from the marine opisthobranch mollusk Phidiana militaris is reported. The synthesis proceeds in six steps from known indole acetic acids in 39.9% (phidianidine A) and 21% (phidianidine B) overall yields from commercially available materials. Biological characterization found that phidianidines A and B are selective inhibitors of DAT (versus SERT and NET) and a selective, potent ligand and partial agonist of the μ opioid receptor (versus δ- and κ-opioid receptors). Moreover, neither phidianidines A and B are cytotoxic, and thus represent an attractive starting point for chemical optimization; therefore, we piloted a number of chemistries and prepared a diverse series of unnatural analogs.