Synfacts 2021; 17(03): 0251
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1720304
Synthesis of Natural Products and Potential Drugs

Total Synthesis of (±)-Strychnine

Erick M. Carreira
David M. Fischer
Rawal VH, *, Iwasa S. Ohio State University, Columbus, USA
A Short, Stereocontrolled Synthesis of Strychnine.

J. Org. Chem. 1994;
59: 2685-2686
DOI: 10.1021/jo00089a008.


The heptacyclic alkaloid strychnine has been the focus of numerous synthetic efforts over the last 75 years since the first total synthesis by Woodward. In 1994, Rawal and Iwasa reported a concise, stereo-controlled total synthesis of racemic strychnine notable for its elegance.



Elaboration of starting material A to aniline C involves a cyclopropyl-iminium rearrangement. After alkylation to yield E, Diels–Alder cycloaddition gives rise to carbamate F. The Jeffrey modification of the Heck reaction yields advanced intermediate I, which is then converted to the natural product.


Publication History

Publication Date:
16 February 2021 (online)

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