Understanding conformational relationships makes it easy to draw idealized chair structures for cyclohexane and to visualize axial-equatorial interconversion. After quantitative consideration of the conformational energies of ethane, propane, and butane, cyclohexane is used to illustrate the utility of molecular mechanics as an alternative to quantum mechanics for estimating such energies. To give useful accuracy this empirical scheme requires thousands of arbitrary parameters.
Why ethane has a rotational barrier is still debatable. Analyzing conformational and configurational stereotopicity relationships among constitutionally equivalent groups reveals a subtle discrimination in enzyme reactions. When Baeyer suggested strain-induced reactivity due to distorting bond angles away from those in an ideal tetrahedron, he assumed that the cyclohexane ring is flat. He was soon corrected by clever Sachse, but Sachse’s weakness in rhetoric led to a quarter-century of confusion.
After mentioning some legal implications of chirality, the discussion of configuration concludes using esomeprazole as an example of three general methods for producing single enantiomers. Conformational isomerism is more subtle because isomers differ only by rotation about single bonds, which requires careful physico-chemical consideration of energies and their relation to equilibrium and rate constants. Conformations have their own notation and nomenclature. Curiously, the barrier to rotation about the C-C bond of ethane was established by measuring its heat capacity.
The chemical mode of action of omeprazole is expected to be insensitive to its stereochemistry, making clinical trials of the proposed virtues of a chiral switch crucial. Design of the clinical trials is discussed in the context of marketing. Otolaryngologist Dr. Dianne Duffey provides a clinician’s perspective on the testing and marketing of pharmaceuticals, on the FDA approval process, on clinical trial system, on off-label uses, and on individual and institutional responsibility for evaluating pharmaceuticals.
This Midterm Exam covers the third quarter of the course.
Within a lecture on biological resolution, the synthesis of single enantiomers, and the naming and 3D visualization of omeprazole, Professor Laurence Barron of the University of Glasgow delivers a guest lecture on the subject of how chiral molecules rotate polarized light. Mixing wave functions by coordinated application of light’s perpendicular electric and magnetic fields shifts electrons along a helix that can be right- or left-handed, but so many mixings are involved, and their magnitudes are so subtle, that predicting net optical rotation in practical cases is rarely simple.
Determination of the actual atomic arrangement in tartaric acid in 1949 motivated a change in stereochemical nomenclature from Fischer’s 1891 genealogical convention (D, L) to the CIP scheme (R, S) based on conventional group priorities. Configurational isomers can be interconverted by racemization and epimerization. Pure enantiomers can be separated from racemic mixtures by resolution schemes based on selective crystallization of conglomerates or temporary formation of diastereomers.
It is important that chemists agree on notation and nomenclature in order to communicate molecular constitution and configuration. It is best when a diagram is as faithful as possible to the 3-dimensional shape of a molecule, but the conventional Fischer projection, which has been indispensable in understanding sugar configurations for over a century, involves highly distorted bonds. Ambiguity in diagrams or words has led to multibillion-dollar patent disputes involving popular drugs.
With his tetrahedral carbon models van’t Hoff explained the mysteries of known optical isomers possessing stereogenic centers and predicted the existence of chiral allenes, a class of molecules that would not be observed for another sixty-one years. Symmetry operations that involve inverting an odd number of coordinate axes interconvert mirror-images. Like printed words, only a small fraction of molecules are achiral. Verbal and pictorial notation for stereochemistry are discussed.
Despite cautions from their conservative elders, young chemists like Paternó and van’t Hoff began interpreting molecular graphs in terms of the arrangement of a molecule’s atoms in 3-dimensional space. Benzene was one such case, but still more significant was the prediction, based on puzzling isomerism involving “optical activity,” that molecules could be “chiral,” that is, right- or left-handed. Louis Pasteur effected the first artificial separation of racemic acid into tartaric acid and its mirror-image.