(A) BODIPY as a versatile fluorophore (B) Synthesis of PNAs via Staudinger reaction
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(A) In recent years, 4,4-difluoro-4-bora-3a,4a-diaza-s-indacene (BODIPY) fluorophores have attracted considerable interest due to their unique photochemical properties. However detailed studies on the stability of BODIPY and analogues under acidic and basic conditions have been lacking. Thus the stability of a series of BODIPY analogues in acidic (di- and trichloroacetic acid) and basic (aqueous ammonium hydroxide) conditions was investigated using 11B NMR spectroscopy. Among the analogues tested, 4,4-diphenyl BODIPY was the most stable under the conditions used in the experiments. It was found that reaction of 4,4-dimethoxy BODIPY with dichloroacetic acid gave mixed anhydride 4,4-bis(dichloroacetoxy) BODIPY in good yields. Treatment of the latter mixed anhydride with alcohols such as methanol and ethanol in the presence of a base afforded corresponding borate esters, whereas treatment with 1,2-diols such as ethylene glycol and catechol in the presence of a base gave corresponding cyclic borate esters. Furthermore treatment of 4,4-difluoro-8-methyl-BODIPY with secondary amines in dihalomethane resulted in carbon–carbon bond formation at the meso-methyl position of BODIPY via Mannich-type reactions. The resulting modified BODIPY fluorophores possess high fluorescent quantum yields. Five BODIPY analogues bearing potential ion-binding moieties were synthesized via this Mannich-type reaction. Among these, the BODIPY bearing an aza-18-crown-5 tether was found to be selective towards copper (II) ion, resulting in a large blue shift in absorption and sharp fluorescent quenching, whereas aza-15-crown-4 analogue was selected towards fluoride ion, leading to effective florescent quenching and blue shift. (B) Peptide nucleic acids (PNA), as mimics of natural nucleic acids, have been widely applied in molecular biology and biotechnology. Currently, the preparation of PNA oligomers is commonly achieved by a coupling reaction between carboxyl and amino groups in the presence of an activator. In this thesis attempts were made towards the synthesis of PNA through the Staudinger ligation reactions between C-terminal diphenylphosphinomethanethiol thioesters and N-terminal α-azido PNA building blocks.