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A facile and economical synthesis of a novel orally active 1-beta-methylcarbapenem, TA-949 (1), is described. The key process involves an efficient synthesis of the C-2 side chain (R)-4-mercaptopyrrolidine-2-thione 2 from L-aspartic acid and the construction of the 1-beta-methylcarbapenem skeleton. The mercapto group of 2 with an R-configuration was formed via deaminative bromination of the amino group of L-aspartic acid beta-methyl ester hydrochloride 12 followed by a complete S(N)2-type substitution with potassium benzenemethanethiolate. High-yield amination and cyclization of the chloride 15 to the pyrrolidin-2-one 16 was accomplished by a simple treatment with ammonia. Thiation of 16 and the Birch reduction of the resultant thiolactam 18 provided the C-2 side chain 2 in high yield with the asymmetric center retained as such. The side chain 2 was installed into the 1-beta-methylcarbapenem skeleton either by coupling with the vinyl phosphate 5 or by the use of the counterattack strategy involving the Dieckmann-type cyclization of the thioester 8. Removal of the protective groups of the coupling product 6 followed by esterification provided TA-949 (1) in high yield.


M Seki, T Yamanaka, K Kondo. Practical synthesis of (R)-4-mercaptopyrrolidine-2-thione from L-aspartic acid. Preparation of a novel orally active 1-beta-methylcarbapenem, TA-949. The Journal of organic chemistry. 2000 Jan 28;65(2):517-22

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PMID: 10813966

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