Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. R. B. Grossman


The indole alkaloids, a class of natural products, have received much synthetic attention for years due to their diverse structures and interesting biological properties. We are particularly interested in synthesizing some of the yohimbine alkaloids extracted from the bark of a tall evergreen African tree (Corynanthe yohimbe, commonly known as fringe tree). Yohimbine and its stereoisomers have been tempting targets for synthetic organic chemists for more than fifty years. These compounds feature a pentacyclic ring system with two heteroatoms and five stereogenic centers.

Broadly, the fifteen different synthetic approaches that led to the successful completion of yohimbine alkaloids relied only on two basic synthetic strategies. In the first strategy, the last step almost always was the formation of the C(2)-C(3) bond by either Pictet-Spengler reaction or by Bischler-Napieralski reaction with the concomitant formation of the C ring. The second strategy involved the annulation of the D and E rings onto the intact ABC ring system.

With our double annulation methodology, herein, we report a completely different synthetic approach to access the yohimbine alkaloids, and our disconnections are not even remotely close to the synthetic designs used in the past. Our key steps include double Michael reaction to construct the E ring, an intramolecular cyclization to construct the D ring, and finally, the functionality on the D ring can be elaborated to form the C ring of the yohimbine alkaloids.

Included in

Chemistry Commons



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