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Development of a Terpene Feedstock-Based Oxidative Synthetic Approach to the Illicium Sesquiterpenes

Hung, Kevin, Condakes, Matthew L., Novaes, Luiz F. T., Harwood, Stephen J., Morikawa, Takahiro, Yang, Zhi, Maimone, Thomas J.
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2019 v.141 no.7 pp. 3083-3099
Illicium, bioactive properties, biosynthesis, feedstocks, oxidation
The Illicium sesquiterpenes are a family of natural products containing over 100 highly oxidized and structurally complex members, many of which display interesting biological activities. This comprehensive account chronicles the evolution of a semisynthetic strategy toward these molecules from (+)-cedrol, seeking to emulate key aspects of their presumed biosynthesis. An initial route generated lower oxidation state analogs but failed in delivering a crucial hydroxy group in the final step. Insight gathered during these studies, however, ultimately led to a synthesis of the pseudoanisatinoids along with the allo-cedrane natural product 11-O-debenzoyltashironin. A second-generation strategy was then developed to access the more highly oxidized majucinoid compounds including jiadifenolide and majucin itself. Overall, one dozen natural products can be accessed from an abundant and inexpensive terpene feedstock. A multitude of general observations regarding site-selective C(sp³)–H bond functionalization reactions in complex polycyclic architectures are reported.