Studies into the Biosynthesis and Chemical Synthesis of Indolocarbazoles and Related Heterocyclic Compounds. Metalation of Indole-6-Carboxamide.
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The electron rich and aromatic character of the indole group allows for a wide range of oxidative and substitution reactions, creating a versatile platform for generating structurally diverse molecules. This thesis explores enzyme and synthetic chemistries that act upon indoles and related molecules. Chapter 1 describes the results of in vivo studies of RebC, an enzyme that plays a pivotal role in the biosynthesis of the indolocarbazole alkaloid rebeccamycin. A homologous enzyme, StaC, exists in the biosynthetic pathway for staurosporine, a related indolocarbazole. Structural differences between the RebC and StaC active sites were hypothesized to play a pivotal role in determining the oxidation state in the corresponding natural products. Sequence alignment of RebC and StaC with homologous enzymes from related indolocarbazole biosynthetic pathways revealed six non-conserved residues in the active site. Three RebC variants were generated by replacement of all six, four, or two specific residues with their StaC counterparts. It was demonstrated that only two substitutions, F216V and R239N, are required to convert the specificity of RebC to that of StaC. Analysis of the structure of the RebC bound to a putative reaction intermediate supports the importance of F216 and R239 in catalysis. Based on these results, contrasting mechanisms for RebC and StaC are proposed to account for their differing specificities. Chapter 2 describes a synthetic approach to primarily heterocyclic analogues of lycogarubin C. Suzuki coupling of appropriately functionalized 3,4-dibromopyrrole or 3,4-bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)pyrrole was effective for numerous π-excessive five-membered heterocyclic-3-boronic acids. The optimized conditions were less effective for cross-couplings involving heteroaromatic-2-boronic acids, π-deficient heteroaromatic boronic acids, and heteroaromatic boropinacolate esters. Oxidative cyclization of the 3,4-bis(thiophen-3-yl)pyrrole and 3,4-bis(benzothiophen-3-yl)pyrrole to give analogues of the corresponding indolocarbazoles was demonstrated. Chapter 3 describes preliminary results on the development of regioselective C-5 and C-7 indole metalation tactics of indole-6-carboxamides, in order to provide new functionalized indoles. The use of an indole C-2 silicon protection strategy in combination with a sterically bulky C-6 N,N-di-isopropyl carboxamide directed metalation group overcame undesired side reactions observed with the analogous N,N-diethyl indole-6-carboxamide, affording the C-5 and C-7 substituted products in 40% and 13% yields, respectively.