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First total synthesis of fuscain

Posted on 20. December, 2012.

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Fuscain is a new furanolactam isolated from the sponge Phacellis fusca from the South China Sea. Furan analogues isolated from marine organisms have valuable medicinal properties. The first total synthesis of fuscain is reported in Journal of Chemical Research December issue. The key step in the synthesis is the formation of seven-membered lactam by acylation of a furan ring using the mild Lewis acid CuSO4•5H2O.

Fuscain, a new furanolactam which was originally isolated from the sponge Phacellis fusca collected in South China Sea, showed a moderate cytotoxicity toward P388 and L1210 cell lines. The same sponge yielded three pyrrololactam alkaloids: saldisin, 2-bromoaldisin and debromohymenialdisin.2 Recently, furan analogues isolated from marine organisms have shown anticancer,3–5 antibacterial,6 anticoagulant, antifungal, antimalarial,  antiplatelet, antituberculosis and antiviral activities11. Aldisin-based derivatives can be easily synthesised. However, it is still a challenge to synthesise fuscain. Hence the biological effects of fuscain and its derivatives on cell cycle progression and antitumour activities have rarely been reported. The synthetic route to fuscain is shown below.

The key step is an intramolecular Friedel–Crafts cyclisation to form the seven-membered ring. Various Lewis acids (polyphosphoric acid, POCl3, polyphosphoric acid–acetic acid, POCl3–P2O5, TFA or MSA) have been reported for Friedel– Crafts cyclisation.13,14. Initially, we selected PPA and P2O5 as catalysts but no product was obtained. Because of the structural difference between Alidisin and fuscain, the aromaticity of furan ring is less than a pyrrole ring, and a furan ring usually polymerised under acidic conditions, we selected a relatively mild Lewis acid CuSO4•5H2O to complete the intramolecular cyclisation to form fuscain.

doi: 10.3184/174751912X13528167435099

Yuan-wei Liang, Xiao-jian Liao, Chang-jun Wang, Jin-zhi Guo, Shuo Li and Shi-hai Xu*
Department of Chemistry, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, P. R. China

Keywords: fuscain, furanolactam, total synthesis, seven-membered ring, mild Lewis acid

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