Catalyst-controlled oligomerization for the collective synthesis of polypyrroloindoline natural products

Christopher R. Jamison, Joseph J. Badillo, Jeffrey M. Lipshultz, Robert J. Comito, David W.C. MacMillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


In nature, many organisms generate large families of natural product metabolites that have related molecular structures as a means to increase functional diversity and gain an evolutionary advantage against competing systems within the same environment. One pathway commonly employed by living systems to generate these large classes of structurally related families is oligomerization, wherein a series of enzymatically catalysed reactions is employed to generate secondary metabolites by iteratively appending monomers to a growing serial oligomer chain. The polypyrroloindolines are an interesting class of oligomeric natural products that consist of multiple cyclotryptamine subunits. Herein we describe an iterative application of asymmetric copper catalysis towards the synthesis of six distinct oligomeric polypyrroloindoline natural products: hodgkinsine, hodgkinsine B, idiospermuline, quadrigemine H and isopsychotridine B and C. Given the customizable nature of the small-molecule catalysts employed, we demonstrate that this strategy is further amenable to the construction of quadrigemine H-type alkaloids not isolated previously from natural sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1165-1169
Number of pages5
JournalNature chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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