Chapter 30: There’s a lot more use of the disconnection approach in the discussions of the synthesis of heterocylic aromatic compounds than there was in the previous edition. The analysis of the Viagra synthesis pp. 768 –> is particularly fascinating.
The sophistication of the chapter is much higher than what went on previously. It’s great ! The writer assumes that you have all the previous reactions well under your belt, as well as disconnection and moves rapidly on from there.
In a sense it’s like the switch from undergraduate math books where proofs are laid out in detail, to the graduate lectures, where proofs are sketched and you are expected to fill in the dots. I wonder how a neophyte hitting this chapter for the first time would take it.
One can take the analogy a bit further. The target molecule can be considered the theorem and and the synthesis the proof. This is exactly why math is harder than organic chemistry. The target molecule is almost telling you (thanks to the disconnection approach) how to make it. The examples in this chapter are fairly simple. Yet most accounts of syntheses focus on one or two most difficult steps and the target is far more complex — for an example see ttp://heterocyclist.com/2012/08/24/synthesis-of-kopsia-lapidilecta-alkaloids-the-rcm-approach-takes-a-hit-retraction/.
In medical school, the importance of taking an accurate history was stressed — “The patient is telling you the diagnosis” was said over and over, just as the structure of a synthetic target is telling you how to make it. Certainly, with each passing year, the MD finds the history more and more valuable, and the physical exam less. Medicine has one further wrinkle that math and synthetic organic chemistry do not. The manner in which the patient gives the history and answers your questions is incredibly important. It’s not just the words, it’s the tune. Is the patient depressed, angry, confused, hyped-up etc. etc. That’s why I always took the history myself, and never had the patient fill out some checklist, it throws away information you can get in no other way
I don’t know enough math to know if proofs break down this way. But there is another huge difference between math and orgo. In math the definitions are incredibly precise. A collection of subsets of a given set either satisfies 3 extremely specific criteria to make them open sets and the containing set into a topology, or they don’t. Chemical reactions aren’t like that — Anslyn and Dougherty take you through Sn1 and Sn2 and their variants, and then show you how there are reactions that fall between them, containing aspects of both. The idea of a Diels Alder reaction, is independent of any particular exemplar — so the concepts in chemistry are inherently fuzzy. If you’re good at reasoning by analogy, then chemistry is your oyster. Don’t try this in a mathematical proof. So the zillion mathematical definitions (first countable, compactness, path connected in its varieties) must be memorized exactly as they are, and used in proofs that way, and that way only. Medical concepts are even fuzzier. It takes a very different type of mind to do math well, one which, unfortunately, I don’t posses, even though I love the stuff.
p. 772 The example of the tautomer of the thioamide interacting with an alpha haloketone is a great example of hard/hard nucleophile/electrophile and soft/soft nucleophile/electrophile interactions occuring specifically in the same pair of molecules, while quite near to each other. It should probably be pointed to in the next edition when hard/soft nucleophiles and electrophiles are first discussed.
p. 775 — Interesting that they didn’t call the reaction of an alkyne and an azide ‘click chemistry‘ which is what Sharpless calls it. It has proved extremely useful in linking together molecules of biologic interest — e.g. seeing where a protein is binding to other proteins or to DNA. The uses are endless and still being discovered.
Here are a few examples:
[ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. vol. 98 pp. 4740 - 4745 '01 ] Propargyl choline is a choline derivative which can be used to label choline containing phospholipids using Click chemistry (forming cycloaddition products with a fluorophore containing an azide. Total lipid analysis of labeled cells shows strong incorporation of propargyl choline into all classes of choline phospholipids — and the fatty acid composition of these lipids is quite normal.
[ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. vol. 105 pp. 2415 - 2420 '08 ] It was used to quickly label DNA using 5 ethynyl 2′ deoxy uridine — which can be detected using fluorescence.
[ Science vol. 320 pp. 868 - 869 '08 ] It is a modification of the Huisgen reaction — the trick was using Copper Iodide as a catalyst. Polymer scientists love it.
Another type of click reaction adds a thiol across an olefin using light.
[ Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. vol. 107 pp. 15329 - 15334 '10 ] Oligonucleotides can be produced by automated solid phase phosphoramidite synthesis — chains over 100 (deoxy) nucleotides can be formed. It’s harder with RNA because of the reactivity of the 2′ OH group which requires selective protection. So the limit here is 50 nucleotides. This work describes click ligation as a way to put them together.
p. 794 — Aziridine is less basic than pyroldine and piperidine, because the hybridization of the nitrogen has more s character. But no mention is made of why this should mean less basicity — it’s because the s orbital experiences the positive charge of the nucleus more intensely than a p orbital (which has a node at the nucleus), lowering its energy and making it less likely to share (like a spoiled child).
p. 796 – While coupling NMR is through bonds rather than throught space (e.g. more coupling between H’s trans to each other on a double bond, than cis — they never explained why this is so, nor do they here.
p. 796 — It don’t see why the dihedral angle in the bicyclic compound shown is any different from 60 degrees, the axial equatorial bond separation, unless the ring configuration by compressing the C – C – C angle, expands the H – C – H angle.
p. 797 — Why is the shift of the hydrogen on the carbon containing the OH groups so different between axial (3.5) and equatorial (4.0)?
p. 799 — Neurologists are excellent at reading MRI scans of patients (or they should be), these vary in appearance depending on whether they use T1 or T2 relaxation. But the whole issue of relaxation from a higher energy state to a lower one is rarely discussed.
The text says “So far we have assumed that the drop back down (to a lower energy state) is spontaneous, just like a rock falling off a cliff. In fact it isn’t — something needs to ‘help’ the protons to drop back again — a process called relaxation”. Why is this the case? Is it similar to laser action, where something needs to stimulate the drop down to a lower energy state with the emission of laser light. Perhaps one of the cognoscenti reading this can explain why help is needed for a transition to a lower energy state. I don’t understand it.