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Total Synthesis of the Strychnos Alkaloid (+)-Minfiensine: Tandem Enantioselective Intramolecular Heck−Iminium Ion Cyclization

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journal contribution
posted on 16.04.2008, 00:00 by Amy B. Dounay, Philip G. Humphreys, Larry E. Overman, Aaron D. Wrobleski
A 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-9a,4a-(iminoethano)-9H-carbazole (4) is a central structural feature of the Strychnos alkaloid minfiensine (1) and akuammiline alkaloids such as vincorine (5) and echitamine (6). A cascade catalytic asymmetric Heck−iminium cyclization was developed that rapidly provides 3,4-dihydro-9a,4a-(iminoethano)-9H-carbazoles in high enantiomeric purity. Two sequences were developed for advancing 3,4-dihydro-9a,4a-(iminoethano)-9H-carbazole 27 to (+)-minfiensine. In our first-generation approach, a reductive Heck cyclization was employed to form the fifth ring of (+)-minfiensine. In a second more concise total synthesis, an intramolecular palladium-catalyzed ketone enolate vinyl iodide coupling was employed to construct the final ring of (+)-minfiensine. This second-generation total synthesis of enantiopure (+)-minfiensine was accomplished in 6.5% overall yield and 15 steps from 1,2-cyclohexanedione and anisidine 13. A distinctive feature of this sequence is the use of palladium-catalyzed reactions to form all carbon−carbon bonds in the transformation of these simple precursors to (+)-minfiensine.