The quest for new mild and selective modifications of natural structures: laccase-catalysed oxidation of ergot alkaloids leads to unexpected stereoselective C-4 hydroxylation.

Research paper by Cosimo C Chirivì, Gabriele G Fontana, Daniela D Monti, Gianluca G Ottolina, Sergio S Riva, Bruno B Danieli

Indexed on: 11 Jul '12Published on: 11 Jul '12Published in: Chemistry - A European Journal


Laccase-catalysed oxidation of ergot alkaloids in the absence of chemical mediators allowed the unexpected isolation of the mono-hydroxylated derivatives of compounds 2-7. Structure determination by NMR techniques clearly indicated that hydroxylation took place at the C-4 benzylic position. Quite notably, the proposed protocol allowed, for the first time, functionalisation at the C-4 position of the ergoline skeleton. Depending on the absence or on the presence of a C-10 α-methoxy substituent, hydroxylation was either stereoselective (furnishing C-4α OH derivatives) or gave rise to a C-4α/C-4β OH mixture in a 2:1 ratio, respectively.