Journal of Undergraduate Chemistry Research
Sesquiterpene lactones are plant-derived compounds that have been shown to possess significant activity against inflammation and cancer. Comparative studies of sesquiterpene lactone structure and tumor cytotoxicity indicate that the presence of an α-methylene-γ-lactone moiety is necessary for bioactivity. This observation has led to the hypothesis that simple compounds containing this pharmacophore may also exhibit similar anti-cancer properties. To test this theory, an efficient synthesis of 4-substituted α-methylene-γ-lactone has been developed. The model compound in this study, α-methylene-γ-dodecalactone, has been prepared from commercially available 1-decene in six steps. The synthesis features a nucleophilic epoxide ring-opening reaction followed by an intramolecular cyclization to prepare a key lactone intermediate. The described sequence should provide access to a large number of 4-substituted α-methylene-γ-lactone analogues that can be used to better understand the role alkyl substituents play in the bioactivity of this class of compounds.
Mechelke, Mark F.; Platt, Katy; and Pribula, Connor, "Chemotherapeutic Drug Design: An Efficient Synthesis of 4-Substituted Alpha-Methylene-Gamma-Lactones" (2016). Chemistry Faculty Publications. 8.