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Approach for Expanding Triterpenoid Complexity via Divergent Norrish-Yang Photocyclization

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journal contribution
posted on 19.04.2013, 00:00 by Vasily A. Ignatenko, Gregory P. Tochtrop
Triterpenoids comprise a very diverse family of polycyclic molecules that is well-known to possess a myriad of medicinal properties. Therefore, triterpenoids constitute an attractive target for medicinal chemistry and diversity-oriented synthesis. Photochemical transformations provide a promising tool for the rapid, green, and inexpensive generation of skeletal diversity in the construction of natural product-like libraries. With this in mind, we have developed a diversity-oriented strategy, whereby the parent triterpenoids bryonolic acid and lanosterol are converted to the pseudosymmetrical polyketones by sequential allylic oxidation and oxidative cleavage of the bridging double bond at the B/C ring fusion. The resultant polyketones were hypothesized to undergo divergent Norrish-Yang cyclization to produce unique 6/4/8-fused triterpenoid analogues. The subtle differences between parent triterpenoids led to dramatically different spatial arrangements of reactive functionalities. This finding was rationalized through conformational analysis to explain unanticipated photoinduced pinacolization, as well as the regio- and stereochemical outcome of the desired Norrish-Yang cyclization.