Total synthesis of griseusins and elucidation of the griseusin mechanism of action†
A divergent modular strategy for the enantioselective total synthesis of 12 naturally-occurring griseusin type pyranonaphthoquinones and 8 structurally-similar analogues is described. Key synthetic highlights include Cu-catalyzed enantioselective boration–hydroxylation and hydroxyl-directed C–H olefination to afford the central pharmacophore followed by epoxidation–cyclization and maturation via diastereoselective reduction and regioselective acetylation. Structural revision of griseusin D and absolute structural assignment of 2a,8a-epoxy-epi-4′-deacetyl griseusin B are also reported. Subsequent mechanistic studies establish, for the first time, griseusins as potent inhibitors of peroxiredoxin 1 (Prx1) and glutaredoxin 3 (Grx3). Biological evaluation, including comparative cancer cell line cytotoxicity and axolotl embryo tail inhibition studies, highlights the potential of griseusins as potent molecular probes and/or early stage leads in cancer and regenerative biology.