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The highly diastereoselective conjugate additions of the novel lithium amide reagents lithium (R)-N-(3-chloropropyl)-N-(α-methylbenzyl)amide and lithium (R)-N-(3-chloropropyl)-N-(α-methyl-p-methoxybenzyl)amide to α,β-unsaturated esters were used as the key steps in syntheses of the homalium alkaloids (-)-(S,S)-homaline and (-)-(R,R)-hopromine. The asymmetric synthesis of (-)-(S,S)-homaline was achieved in 8 steps and 18% overall yield, and the asymmetric synthesis of (-)-(R,R)-hopromine was achieved in 9 steps and 23% overall yield, from commercially available starting materials in each case. These syntheses therefore represent by far the most efficient total asymmetric syntheses of these alkaloids reported to date. A sample of the (4'R,4''S)-epimer of hopromine was also produced using this approach, which provided the first unambiguous confirmation of its absolute configuration and therefore that of natural (-)-(R,R)-hopromine.

Original publication




Journal article


J Org Chem

Publication Date





7028 - 7045


Alkaloids, Amides, Esters, Lithium, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Molecular Structure, Stereoisomerism