Stereoselective Synthesis of Molecular Square and Granny Knots

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We report on the stereoselective synthesis of both molecular granny and square knots through the use of lanthanide-complexed overhand knots of specific handedness as three-crossing ‘entanglement synthons’. The composite knots are assembled by combining two entanglement synthons (of the same chirality for a granny knot; of opposite handedness for a square knot) in three synthetic steps: First, a CuAAC reaction joins together one end of each overhand knot. Ring-closing olefin metathesis (RCM) then affords the closed-loop knot, locking the topology. This allows the lanthanide ions necessary for stabilizing the entangled conformation of the synthons to subsequently be removed. The composite knots were characterized by 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry, and the chirality of the knot stereoisomers compared by circular dichroism. The synthetic strategy of combining building blocks of defined stereochemistry (here overhand knots of Λ- or Δ-handed entanglement) is reminiscent of the chiron approach of using minimalist chiral synthons in the stereoselective synthesis of molecules with multiple asymmetric centers.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Early online date20 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019