Synthesis of 5-fluoro- and 5-hydroxymethanoprolines via lithiation of N-BOC-methanopyrrolidines. Constrained Cγ-exo and Cγ-endo Flp and Hyp conformer mimics

J Org Chem. 2012 Jun 15;77(12):5331-44. doi: 10.1021/jo300700a. Epub 2012 May 25.


Proline derivatives with a C(γ)-exo pucker typically display a high amide bond trans/cis (K(T/C)) ratio. This pucker enhances n→π* overlap of the amide oxygen and ester carbonyl carbon, which favors a trans amide bond. If there were no difference in n→π* interaction between the ring puckers, then the correlation between ring pucker and K(T/C) might be broken. To explore this possibility, proline conformations were constrained using a methylene bridge. We synthesized discrete gauche and anti 5-fluoro- and 5-hydroxy-N-acetylmethanoproline methyl esters from 3-syn and 3-anti fluoro- and hydroxymethanopyrrolidines using directed α-metalation to introduce the α-ester group. NBO calculations reveal minimal n→π* orbital interactions, so contributions from other forces might be of greater importance in determining K(T/C) for the methanoprolines. Consistent with this hypothesis, greater trans amide preferences were found in CDCl(3) for anti isomers en-MetFlp and en-MetHyp (72-78% trans) than for the syn stereoisomers ex-MetFlp and ex-MetHyp (54-67% trans). These, and other, K(T/C) results that we report here indicate how substituents on proline analogues can affect amide preferences by pathways other than ring puckering and n→π* overlap and suggest that caution should be exercised in assigning enhanced pyrrolidine C(γ)-exo ring puckering based solely on enhanced trans amide preference.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Molecular Conformation
  • Proline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Proline / chemical synthesis
  • Proline / chemistry
  • Pyrrolidines / chemical synthesis*
  • Pyrrolidines / chemistry*
  • Stereoisomerism
  • Thermodynamics


  • 5-fluoro-methanoproline
  • 5-hydroxymethanoproline
  • Pyrrolidines
  • Proline