Macrocyclisation of Small Peptides Enabled by Oxetane Incorporation
Cyclic peptides are an important source of new drugs but are challenging to produce synthetically. We show that head-to-tail peptide macrocyclisations are greatly improved, as measured by isolated yields, reaction rates and product distribution, by substitution of one of the backbone amide C=O bonds with an oxetane ring. The cyclisation precursors are easily made by standard solution- or solid-phase peptide synthesis techniques. Macrocyclisations across a range of challenging ring sizes (tetra-, penta- and hexapeptides) are enabled by incorporation of this turn-inducing element. Oxetane incorporation is shown to be superior to other established amino acid modifications such as N-methylation. The positional dependence of the modification on cyclisation efficiency is mapped using a cyclic peptide of sequence LAGAY. We provide the first direct experimental evidence that oxetane modification induces a turn in linear peptide backbones, through the observation of dNN (i, i+2) and dαN (i, i+2) NOEs, which offers an explanation for these improvements. For cyclic peptide, cLAGAY, a combination of NMR derived distance restraints and molecular dynamics simulations are used to show that this modification alters the backbone conformation in proximity to the oxetane, with the flexibility of the ring reduced and a new intramolecular H-bond established. Finally, we incorporated an oxetane into a cyclic pentapeptide inhibitor of Aminopeptidase N, a transmembrane metalloprotease overexpressed on the surface of cancer cells. The inhibitor, cCNGRC, displayed similar IC50 values in the presence or absence of an oxetane at the Gly residue, indicating that bioactivity is fully retained upon amide C=O bond replacement.
RxCelerate, one of the leading out-sourced drug discovery and development platforms in the United Kingdom, announced today it has opened UK-based chemistry operations at The University of Warwick. The new operation will be led by Dr Nigel Ramsden, who joins RxCelerate on a full-time basis as Executive Vice President, Chemistry Operations, working closely with Dr David Fox in the Department of Chemistry at Warwick.
Polyolefin-polar block copolymers from versatile new macromonomers
A new metallocene-based polymerization mechanism is elucidated in which a zirconium hydride center inserts α-methylstyrene at the start of a polymer chain. The hydride is then regenerated by hydrogenation to release a polyolefin containing a single terminal α-methylstyrenyl group. Through the use of the difunctional monomer 1,3-diisopropenylbenzene, this catalytic hydride insertion polymerization is applied to the production of linear polyeth-ylene and ethylene-hexene copolymers containing an isopropenylbenzene end group. Conducting simple radical polymerizations in the presence of this new type of macromonomer leads to diblock copolymers containing a polyole-fin attached to an acrylate, methacrylate, vinyl ester or styrenic segments. The new materials are readily available and exhibit interfacial phenomena, including the mediation of the mixing of immiscible polymer blends.
Collaboration between Chaplin (Warwick) and Hooper (Monash) groups yields first publication in Org. Lett.
Oxidative Cross-Coupling of Boron and Antimony Nucleophiles via Palladium(I)
The use of an isolatable, monomeric Pd(I) complex as a catalyst for the oxidative cross-coupling of aryl-antimony and aryl-boron nucleophiles is reported. This reaction tolerates a wide variety of substrates, with >20:1 selectivity for cross-coupled products. This strategy offers a new approach to achieving the selective cross-coupling of nucleophiles.
Terminal Alkyne Coupling Reactions through a Ring: Mechanistic Insights and Regiochemical Switching
The mechanism and selectivity of terminal alkyne coupling reactions promoted by rhodium(I) complexes of NHC‐based CNC pincer ligands have been investigated. Synthetic and kinetic experiments support E‐ and gem‐enyne formation through a common reaction sequence involving hydrometallation and rate‐determining C−C bond reductive elimination. The latter is significantly affected by the ligand topology: Employment of a macrocyclic variant enforced exclusive head‐to‐head coupling, contrasting the high selectivity for head‐to‐tail coupling observed for the corresponding acyclic pincer ligand.