Web Date: March 25, 2008
Novel Fenestranes In A Snap
Using a one-pot procedure, chemists in France have developed a simple synthesis of the complex structures of [184.108.40.206]fenestradienes and [220.127.116.11]fenestrenes. The efficient method provides rapid access to these unusual molecular scaffolds, which could be used as materials, ligands for catalysis, and pharmaceuticals.
Named after the Latin word for window, the fenestrane family of molecules features a windowpane-like structure in which four rings share a quaternary carbon. Accessing these polycycles' strained structures poses a challenge for synthetic chemists. Using a trienyne as their starting point, Jean Suffert, Catherine Hulot, and Gaellë Blond of Louis Pasteur University of Strasbourg were able to design a cyclization cascade that assembles a [18.104.22.168]fenestrane skeleton with good yields (J. Am. Chem. Soc., DOI: 10.1021/ja800691c).
In the synthesis' key step, a nickel catalyst partially reduces the trienyne's triple bond. The researchers believe that the tetraene generated in this reaction undergoes an 8π-conrotatory electrocyclization followed by a 6π-disrotatory electrocyclization to form a [22.214.171.124]fenestradiene. This highly reactive compound readily oxidizes in air to form a [126.96.36.199]fenestrene. "The high yields and the limited number of steps of the reaction sequence render this process very attractive for the synthesis of new fenestranes," write the authors.
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