A shape changing tandem Rh(CNC) catalyst: preparation of bicyclo[4.2.0]octa-1,5,7-trienes from terminal aryl alkynes
The preparation of a range of tetraaryl-substituted bicyclo[4.2.0]octa-1,5,7-trienes using a one-pot procedure starting from terminal aryl alkynes and catalysed by a rhodium(I) complex is reported. This synthesis proceeds by a reaction sequence involving head-to-tail homocoupling of the terminal alkyne and zipper annulation of the resulting gem-enyne. The rhodium catalyst employed is notable for the incorporation of a flexible NHC-based pincer ligand, which is suggested to interconvert between mer- and fac-coordination modes to fulfil the orthogonal mechanistic demands of the two transformations. Evidence for this interesting auto-tandem action of the catalyst is provided by reactions of the precatalyst with model substrates, corroborating proposed intermediates in both component cycles, and norbornadiene, which reversibly captures the change in pincer ligand coordination mode, along with a DFT-based computational analysis.
Readily Accessible sp3-Rich Cyclic Hydrazine Frameworks Exploiting Nitrogen Fluxionality
Increased molecular complexity correlates with improved chances of success in the drug development process. Here, a strategy for the creation of sp3-rich, non-planar heterocyclic scaffolds suitable for drug discovery is described that obviates the need to generate multiple stereogenic centers with independent control. Asymmetric transfer hydrogenation using a tethered Ru-catalyst is used to efficiently produce a range of enantiopure cyclic hydrazine building blocks (up to 99% ee). Iterative C–N functionalization at the two nitrogen atoms of these compounds produces novel hydrazine and hydrazide based chemical libraries. Wide chemical diversification is possible through variation in the hydrazine structure, use of different functionalization chemistries and coupling partners, and controlled engagement of each nitrogen of the hydrazine in turn. Principal Moment of Inertia (PMI) analysis of this small hydrazine library reveals excellent shape diversity and three-dimensionality. NMR and crystallographic studies confirm these frameworks prefer to orient their substituents in three-dimensional space under the control of a single stereogenic center through exploitation of the fluxional behavior of the two nitrogen atoms.
Rhodium(I) Pincer Complexes of Nitrous Oxide
The synthesis of two well‐defined rhodium(I) complexes of nitrous oxide (N2O) is reported. These normally elusive adducts are stable in the solid state and persist in solution at ambient temperature, enabling comprehensive structural interrogation by 15N NMR and IR spectroscopy, and single‐crystal X‐ray diffraction. These methods evidence coordination of N2O through the terminal nitrogen atom in a linear fashion and are supplemented by a computational energy decomposition analysis, which provides further insights into the nature of the Rh–N2O interaction.
Targeted photoredox catalysis in cancer cells (Nature Chem.)
Hypoxic tumours are a major problem for cancer photodynamic therapy. Here, we show that photoredox catalysis can provide an oxygen-independent mechanism of action to combat this problem. We have designed a highly oxidative Ir(III) photocatalyst, [Ir(ttpy)(pq)Cl]PF6 (PF6, where ‘ttpy’ represents 4′-(p-tolyl)-2,2′:6′,2′′-terpyridine and ‘pq’ represents 3-phenylisoquinoline), which is phototoxic towards both normoxic and hypoxic cancer cells. Complex 1 photocatalytically oxidizes 1,4-dihydronicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)—an important coenzyme in living cells—generating NAD• radicals with a high turnover frequency in biological media. Moreover, complex 1 and NADH synergistically photoreduce cytochrome c under hypoxia. Density functional theory calculations reveal π stacking in adducts of complex 1 and NADH, facilitating photoinduced single-electron transfer. In cancer cells, complex 1 localizes in mitochondria and disrupts electron transport via NADH photocatalysis. On light irradiation, complex 1 induces NADH depletion, intracellular redox imbalance and immunogenic apoptotic cancer cell death. This photocatalytic redox imbalance strategy offers a new approach for efficient cancer phototherapy.
Metallohelices that kill Gram-negative pathogens using intracellular antimicrobial peptide pathways
A range of new water-compatible optically pure metallohelices – made by self-assembly of simple non-peptidic organic components around Fe ions – exhibit similar architecture to some natural cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) and are found to have high, structure-dependent activity against bacteria, including clinically problematic Gram-negative pathogens. A key compound is shown to freely enter rapidly dividing E. coli cells without significant membrane disruption, and localise in distinct foci near the poles. Several related observations of CAMP-like mechanisms are made via biophysical measurements, whole genome sequencing of tolerance mutants and transcriptomic analysis. These include: high selectivity for binding of G-quadruplex DNA over double stranded DNA; inhibition of both DNA gyrase and topoisomerase I in vitro; curing of a plasmid that contributes to the very high virulence of the E. coli strain used; activation of various two-component sensor/regulator and acid response pathways; and subsequent attempts by the cell to lower the net negative charge of the surface. This impact of the compound on multiple structures and pathways corresponds with our inability to isolate fully resistant mutant strains, and supports the idea that CAMP-inspired chemical scaffolds are a realistic approach for antimicrobial drug discovery, without the practical barriers to development that are associated with natural CAMPS.