Practical, Catalytic, Asymmetric Synthesis of β-Lactones via a Sequential Ketene Dimerization/Hydrogenation Process: Inhibitors of the Thioesterase Domain of Fatty Acid Synthase

Department of Chemistry, Texas A & M University, P.O. Box 30012, College Station, Texas 77842-3012, USA.
The Journal of Organic Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.72). 07/2006; 71(12):4549-58. DOI: 10.1021/jo060392d
Source: PubMed


The recent finding that the FDA-approved antiobesity agent orlistat (tetrahydrolipstatin, Xenical) is a potent inhibitor of the thioesterase domain of fatty acid synthase (FAS) led us to develop a concise and practical asymmetric route to pseudosymmetric 3,4-dialkyl-cis-beta-lactones. The well-documented up-regulation of FAS in cancer cells makes this enzyme complex an interesting therapeutic target for cancer. The described route to 3,4-dialkyl-beta-lactones is based on a two-step process involving Calter's catalytic, asymmetric ketene dimerization of acid chlorides followed by a facial-selective hydrogenation leading to cis-substituted-beta-lactones. Importantly, the ketene dimer intermediates were found to be stable to flash chromatography, enabling opportunities for subsequent transformations of these optically active, reactive intermediates. Subsequent alpha-epimerization and alpha-alkylation or acylation led to trans-beta-lactones and beta-lactones bearing alpha-quaternary carbons, respectively. Several of the ketene dimers and beta-lactones displayed antagonistic activity (apparent Ki in the low micromolar range) in competition with a fluorogenic substrate toward a recombinant form of the thioesterase domain of fatty acid synthase. The best antagonist, a simple phenyl-substituted cis-beta-lactone 3d, displayed an apparent Ki (2.5 +/- 0.5 microM) of only approximately 10-fold lower than that of orlistat (0.28 +/- 0.06 microM). In addition, mechanistic studies of the ketene dimerization process by ReactionView infrared spectroscopy support previous findings that ketene formation is rate determining.

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