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The access of ring junction functionalized 5,6-hydrindanone systems has been elusive in the realm of synthetic methodology, and the functionalization of a pre-built ring system rarely explored. These 5,6-hydridanone systems are prevalent in a variety of terpenoid ring systems, especially that of steroidal molecules. Previous synthetic methods to reach these systems using a Diels-Alder cycloaddition proved to be difficult and lacked labile functional groups that would be useful for substitution after the cycloaddition. The design of the α-nitrile cyclopentenone dienophile allows for both post-cyclization adduct functionalization, as well as lowering the energy barrier of the cycloaddition itself. In this work, it is shown that the Lewis acid promoted Diels-Alder reaction with α-nitrile β-methyl cyclopentenone dienophile can be performed under standard temperatures and pressures unlike previously established methods.1 This reaction can generate four chiral centers in a single synthetic step when the starting materials are prochiral. After the generation of 5,6-hydrindanone systems, radical cleavage of the nitrile functionality also allowed for electrophile trapping at the ring junction. This radical cleavage and electrophile trapping pathway allows for functionalization of a quaternary carbon at the ring junction, a method that should be fruitful in the generation of difficult to synthesize steroidal and other terpenoid molecules.
In the work on synthetic cell penetrating peptides, camptothecin whilst a notably effective topoisomerase I inhibitor, has never quite reached it’s potential as a therapeutic due to its poor solubility in living systems. Previously, cationic amphiphilic polyproline helices (CAPH) molecules from the Chmielewski lab have been hydrophobically functionalized through O-alkylation of hydroxyprolines at specific regions within the peptide to generate a hydrophobic face. The combination of the cationic faces and the hydrophobic face have made the CAPH molecules notably cell penetrant and tunable. With camptothecin’s notable insolubility in water, it may serve as valuable surrogate to the hydrophobic groups on CAPH molecules and allowing it to be delivered intracellularly. Using an endogenously cleavable linker, we have worked towards a CPP that acts as a drug delivery vehicle. Acting as a replacement of the hydrophobic residue of a CAPH molecule, camptothecin will be chaperoned into the cell and should be released through the action of intracellular esterases.