A new class of a specific organic reaction looks set to provide a useful approach to making functionalised organic building blocks for natural products.

Peter Wipf and Thomas Graham from the University of Pittsburgh, US, have investigated the conjugate addition reaction between a range of heteronucleophiles and 2-alkynyl oxazoles and oxazolines.

A wide range of functional groups, including alcohols, amines, thiols and halides can be added under mild conditions, giving good yields and useful stereoselectivity.

2-alkynyl oxazoles and oxazolines

2-alkynyl oxazoles and oxazolines

The team plan to apply their new synthetic method to their latest work. They are looking at synthesising several members of the disorazole family of natural products - these have very promising anticancer properties.

James Fraser