Modification of the furan ring of salvinorin A (1), the main active component of Salvia divinorum, has resulted in novel neoclerodane diterpenes with opioid receptor affinity and activity. Conversion of the furan ring to an aldehyde at the C-12 position (5) has allowed for the synthesis of analogues with new carbon-carbon bonds at that position. Previous methods for forming these bonds, such as Grignard and Stille conditions, have met with limited success. We report a palladium catalyzed Liebeskind-Srogl cross-coupling reaction of a thioester and a boronic acid that occurs at neutral pH and ambient temperature to produce ketone analogs at C-12. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported usage of the Liebeskind-Srogl reaction to diversify a natural product scaffold. We also describe a one-step protocol for the conversion of 1 to 12-epi-1 (3) through microwave irradiation. Previously, this synthetically challenging process has required multiple steps. Additionally, we report in this study that alkene 9 and aromatic analogues 12, 19, 23, 25, and 26 were discovered to retain affinity and selectivity at kappa opioid receptors (KOP). Finally, we report that the furan-2-yl analog of 1 (31) has similar affinity to 1. Collectively, these findings suggest that different aromatic groups appended directly to the decalin core may be well tolerated by KOP receptors, and may generate further ligands with affinity and activity at KOP receptors.
Lovell, K. M., Vasiljevik, T., Araya, J. J., Lozama, A., Prevatt-Smith, K. M., Day, V. W., … Prisinzano, T. E. (2012). Semisynthetic Neoclerodanes as Kappa Opioid Receptor Probes. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 20(9), 3100–3110. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2012.02.040