Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences


Biomolecular Sciences

First Advisor

John M. Rimoldi

Second Advisor

Bonnie A. Avery

Third Advisor

Franck Dayan

Relational Format



Ascaulitoxin aglycone is a structurally unique bis-amino acid isolated from the fungal species Ascochyta caulina, with herbicidal activity against Chenopodium album. Ascaulitoxin aglycone's potent herbicidal activity coupled with an unknown but novel mechanism of action makes it a perfect candidate for further study in the pursuit of new natural product herbicides. This dissertation research will illustrate three synthetic strategies towards the total synthesis of ascaulitoxin aglycone from chiral pool building blocks. Strategy 1 invokes the use of the Henry reaction as a key step for the construction of the central C4-C5 cis-aminohydroxy group, which was moderately successful, but abandoned in favor of olefination protocols. Strategy 2 invoked the Wittig reaction as a key reaction for the formation of a C4-C5 olefin, but was also abandoned due to lack of reactivity of an unstabilized ylide with an advanced aldehyde coupling partner. The key C4-C5 olefin was successfully installed by using a Grubbs olefin metathesis reaction of benzyl protected D-allylglycine (homodimerization) with 2nd generation catalysts in the presence of copper iodide. Subsequent asymmetric Sharpless aminohydroxylation of the precursor olefin substrate resulted in creation of the key C4-C5 aminohydroxy unit, with requisite syn-stereochemistry and formation of inseparable diastereomers. Catalytic hydrogenation and transfer catalytic hydrogenation reactions using Pd catalysts were employed for the complete deprotection of three N-CBz and two carboxybenzyl groups towards target ascaulitoxin aglycone, but were met with limited success due to potential catalyst poisoning events.


Emphasis: Medicinal Chemistry

Included in

Chemistry Commons



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