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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Rational syntheses of porphyrins bearing up to four different meso substituents.

Porphyrins bearing specific patterns of substituents are crucial building blocks in biomimetic and materials chemistry. We have developed methodology that avoids statistical reactions, employs minimal chromatography, and affords up to gram quantities of regioisomerically pure porphyrins bearing predesignated patterns of up to four different meso substituents. The methodology is based upon the availability of multigram quantities of dipyrromethanes. A procedure for the diacylation of dipyrromethanes using EtMgBr and an acid chloride has been refined. A new procedure for the preparation of unsymmetrical diacyl dipyrromethanes has been developed that involves (1) monoacylation with EtMgBr and a pyridyl benzothioate followed by (2) introduction of the second acyl unit upon reaction with EtMgBr and an acid chloride. The scope of these acylation methods has been examined by preparing multigram quantities of diacyl dipyrromethanes bearing a variety of substituents. Reduction of the diacyl dipyrromethane to the corresponding dipyrromethane-dicarbinol is achieved with NaBH(4) in methanolic THF. Porphyrin formation involves the acid-catalyzed condensation of a dipyrromethane-dicarbinol and a dipyrromethane followed by oxidation with DDQ. Optimal conditions for the condensation were identified after examining various reaction parameters (solvent, temperature, acid, concentration, time). The conditions identified (2.5 mM reactants in acetonitrile containing 30 mM TFA at room temperature for <7 min) provided reaction without detectable scrambling (LD-MS) for aryl-substituted dipyrromethanes, and trace scrambling for alkyl-substituted dipyrromethanes. The desired porphyrins were obtained in 14-40% yield. The synthesis is compatible with diverse functionalities: amide, aldehyde, carboxylic acid, ester, nitrile, ether, bromo, iodo, ethyne, TMS-ethyne, TIPS-ethyne, perfluoroarene. In total 30 porphyrins of the types A(3)B, trans-A(2)B(2), trans-AB(2)C, cis-A(2)B(2), cis-A(2)BC, and ABCD were prepared, including >1-g quantities of three porphyrins.[1]


  1. Rational syntheses of porphyrins bearing up to four different meso substituents. Rao, P.D., Dhanalekshmi, S., Littler, B.J., Lindsey, J.S. J. Org. Chem. (2000) [Pubmed]
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