An enantioselective total synthesis of (-)-strychnine was accomplished through the use of the highly practical catalytic asymmetric Michael reaction (0.1 mol% of (R)-ALB, greater than kilogram scale, without chromatography, 91% yield and >99% ee), and a domino cyclization that simultaneously constructed the B- and D- rings of strychnine (>77% yield). Newly-developed reaction conditions for thionium ion cyclization, NaBH3CN reduction of the imine moiety in the presence of a Lewis acid to prevent the ring-opening reaction, and chemoselective reduction of the thioether (desulfurization) in the presence of exocyclic olefin were pivotal to complete the synthesis. The described chemistry paves the way for the synthesis of more advanced Strychnos alkaloids. Graphical Abstract.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Drug Discovery
- Organic Chemistry