Organic Chemistry

An Efficient Synthesis of Tetrodotoxin



Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is an indispensable probe in neuroscience, a biosynthetic and ecological enigma, and one of the most celebrated targets of synthetic chemistry. Here, we present a stereoselective synthesis of TTX that proceeds in 22 steps starting from a readily available glucose derivative. The central cyclohexane ring of TTX and its α-tertiary amine moiety was established via the intramolecular 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition of a nitrile oxide, followed by alkynyl addition to the resultant isoxazoline. After some carefully chosen protecting group manipulations, a ruthenium-catalyzed hydroxylactonization set the stage for the formation of its dioxa-adamantane core. Installation of the guanidine, oxidation of a primary alcohol, and late-stage epimerization of the resultant aldehyde gave a mixture of TTX and anhydro TTX. Our synthesis represents one of the most effective of TTX reported to date and could give ready access to biologically active derivatives.


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Supplementary material

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Supplementary Information
Synthetic procedures, physical characterization data, X-rays analyses, and spectra.