The Recurring Roles of Chlorine in Synthetic and Biological Studies of the Lissoclimides.


Pak BS(1), Supantanapong N(1), Vanderwal CD(1)(2).
Author information:
(1)Department of Chemistry, UC Irvine, 1102 Natural Sciences II, Irvine, California 92697-2025, United States.
(2)Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, UC Irvine, 101 Theory, Suite 101, Irvine, California 92697-3958, United States.


Halogenated natural products number in the thousands, but only in rare cases are the evolutionary advantages conferred by the halogens understood. We set out to investigate the lissoclimide family of cytotoxins, which includes several chlorinated members, because of our long-standing interest in the synthesis of chlorinated secondary metabolites.Our initial success in this endeavor was a semisynthesis of chlorolissoclimide (CL) from the commercially available sesquiterpenoid sclareolide. Featuring a highly selective and efficient-and plausibly biomimetic-C-H chlorination, we were able to access enough CL for collaborative studies, including X-ray cocrystallography with the eukaryotic ribosome. Through this experiment, we learned that CL's chlorine atom engages in a novel halogen-π dispersion interaction with a neighboring nucleobase in the ribosome E-site.Owing to the limitations of our semisynthesis approach, we established an analogue-oriented approach to access numerous lissoclimide compounds to both improve our understanding of structure-activity relationships and to learn more about the halogen-π interaction. In the course of these studies, we made over a dozen lissoclimide-like compounds, the most interesting of which contained chlorine-bearing carbons with unnatural configurations. Rationalizing the retained potency of these compounds that appeared to be a poor fit for the lissoclimide binding pocket, we came to realize that the chlorine atoms would engage in these same halogen-π interactions even at the expense of a chair to twist-boat conformational change, which also permitted the compounds to fit in the binding site.Finally, because neither of the first two approaches could easily access the most potent natural lissoclimides, we designed a synthesis that took advantage of rarely used terminal epoxides to initiate polyene cyclizations. In this case, the chlorine atom was incorporated early and helped control the stereochemical outcome of the key step.Over the course of this project, three different synthesis approaches were designed and executed, and our ability to access numerous lissoclimides fueled a range of collaborative biological studies. Further, chlorine played impactful roles throughout various aspects of both synthesis and biology. We remain inspired to learn more about the mechanism of action of these compounds and to deeply investigate the potentially valuable halogen-π dispersion interaction in the context of small molecule/nucleic acid binding. In that context, our work offers an instance wherein we might have gained a rudimentary understanding of the evolutionary importance of the halogen in a halogenated natural product.