Synthesis of Cortistatin Alkaloids and a Versatile Synthesis of Isoquinolines

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Synthesis of Cortistatin Alkaloids and a Versatile Synthesis of Isoquinolines

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Title: Synthesis of Cortistatin Alkaloids and a Versatile Synthesis of Isoquinolines
Author: Si, Chong
Citation: Si, Chong. 2012. Synthesis of Cortistatin Alkaloids and a Versatile Synthesis of Isoquinolines. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: The cortistatins are a recently identified class of marine natural products that were found to exhibit potent and selective inhibition of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), making them promising leads for the development of anti-angiogenic drugs. In our synthesis, we envisioned that natural cortistatins and unnatural analogs could be prepared by late-stage introduction of isoquinolines to 17-keto precursors, and that these differentially substituted precursors could all be derived from a common key intermediate 112. We developed a robust synthetic route to prepare gram quantities of key intermediate 112 starting from readily available benzylzinc reagent 116 and enol triflate 117. Key intermediate 112 was next converted to cortistatin precursors 108, 109, 110, and 111 in three to eight steps, representing each of the four natural cortistatin ABC-ring substitution patterns. Subsequently, a generally applicable method was developed to introduce the isoquinoline moiety. After complexation to N,N,N',N'-tetramethylethylenediamine (TMEDA), 7-lithio-isoquinoline added to 17-keto precursors to provide the corresponding 1,2-addition products; the resulting tertiary alcohols underwent radical deoxygenation via their trifluoroacetates to afford the desired (17S)-products. This organolithium-addition-deoxygenation sequence provided cortistatins A (1, on a 20-mg scale), J (9), K (10), and L (11) in good overall yields. We also synthesized cortistatin primary amines (176 and 186) and used them to prepare several cortistatin based affinity reagents. By employing these reagents in pull-down experiments, we identified a 55-kD membrane kinase as a putative protein target of cortistatins. We wanted to prepare cortistatin analogs with isoquinoline modifications due to the importance of this ring for the biological activity of cortistatins. This led us to develop a novel and versatile synthesis of substituted isoquinolines. In our method, lithiated o-tolualdehyde tert-butylimines were condensed with different nitriles to generate eneamido anion intermediates, which were trapped in situ with various electrophiles at the C4-position, affording a wide range of substituted isoquinolines. Further diversification was achieved by modification of the work-up conditions and by subsequent transformations.
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