Author: Josep Saurí

PhD - NMR Spectroscopy

NMR Characterization of Dictyospiromide

largecoverCharacterization by Empirical and Computational Methods of Dictyospiromide, an Intriguing Antioxidant Alkaloid from the Marine Alga Dictyota coriacea, by Pengcheng Yan, Ge Li, Chaojie Wang, Jianzhang Wu, Zhongmin Sun, Gary E. Martin, Xiao Wang, Mikhail Reibarkh, Josep Saurí and Kirk R. Gustafson. Org. Lett. 2019. Article ASAP, DOI:

The challenging structural motif of dictyospiromide (1), a spirosuccinimide alkaloid with antioxidant properties that are associated with activation of the Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway, was assigned using contemporary NMR experiments complemented with anisotropic NMR, chiroptical, and computational methodologies. Anisotropic NMR parameters provided critical orthogonal verification of the configuration of the difficult to assign spiro carbon and the other stereogenic centers in 1.




MRC coverHow to measure long‐range proton‐carbon coupling constants from 1H‐selective HSQMBC experiments, by Josep Saurí, Pau Nolis and Teodor Parella. Magn. Reson. Chem. 2019. Early View, DOI:

Heteronuclear long‐range scalar coupling constants (nJCH) are a valuable tool for solving problems in organic chemistry and are especially suited for stereochemical and configurational analyses of small molecules and natural products. This tutorial will focus on the step‐by‐step implementation of several 2D 1H frequency selective HSQMBC experiments for the easy and accurate measurement of either the magnitude or both the magnitude and the sign of long‐range nJCH couplings. The performance of these experiments will be showcased with several scenarios in a range of different experimental conditions.


Bruker pulse program code for selHSQMBC experiments available here.

Bruker pulse program code for selHSQMBC-TOCSY experiment available here.

Strychnine dataset examples available here.

New variants of the ADEQUATE experiments

AR_NMRNew variants of the ADEQUATE experiments, by Josep Saurí, Ikenna E. Ndukwe, Mikhail Reibarkh, Yizhou Liu, R. Thomas Williamson and Gary E. Martin. Annual Reports on NMR Spectroscopy, 2019. In Press. DOI:

ADEQUATE experiments were first described in the mid-1990s and are a family of proton-detected NMR experiments used to establish carbon–carbon correlations at natural abundance. Applications of these experiments were initially limited by the statistical probability of two 13C nuclides in the same molecule (~ 1:10,000) and the low intrinsic sensitivity of the NMR probe technology of the day. In the intervening two decades, there have been significant advances in NMR probe technology and it is now possible, for example, to perform multiplicity-edited pure shift HSQC NMR experiments on a microgram of material or less. The enhanced NMR sensitivity offered by cryogenic NMR probes has dropped sample requirements for ADEQUATE experiments from the ~ 10 mg range to less than a milligram when working with a 1.7 mm Micro Cryoprobe™ at 600 MHz on a modern spectrometer. In parallel with advances in NMR probe technology, this chapter will detail a number of modifications of the ADEQUATE experiment that have been reported to enhance both the utility and sensitivity of these experiments. Combining newly reported variants of the ADEQUATE experiments with anisotropic NMR and Computer-Assisted Structure Elucidation methods affords an orthogonal means of verifying both the constitution and configuration of complex molecular structures that can stem the flow of incorrectly reported structures into the chemical literature.

Safety Considerations for Oxadiazole IDO1-Selective Inhibitor

largecoverProcess Safety Considerations for the Supply of a High-Energy Oxadiazole IDO1-Selective Inhibitor, by Theodore A. Martinot, Michael Ardolino, Lu Chen, Yu-hong Lam, Chaomin Li, Matthew L. Maddess, Daniel Muzzio, Ji Qi, Josep Saurí, Zhiguo J. Song, Lushi Tan, Thomas Vickery, Jingjun Yin and Ralph Zhao. Org. Process Res. Dev. Published online (2019) DOI:

The development of a stereospecific synthesis of a IDO1-selective inhibitor is described. The synthetic strategy toward enabling early discovery efforts along with additional findings pertaining to process safety that limited scalability are outlined. A convergent approach that supported the synthesis of material suitable for early preclinical and/or good laboratory practice toxicology studies and avoided the formation of key high-energy intermediates is summarized.


Structural elucidation of a dimeric impurity by LC/HRMS and 2D-NMR

x07317085 Structural elucidation of a dimeric impurity in the process development of ceftolozane using LC/HRMS and 2D-NMR, by Jing Liao, Huaming Sheng, Josep Saurí, Rong Xiang and Gary E. Martin. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 174 (2019) 242–247. DOI:

Ceftolozane is MSD’s 5th generation cephalosporin antibiotic with broad-spectrum gram-negative activity. While refining the synthetic route to the drug substance, a dimeric impurity was observed in the final active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of ceftolozane. Through impurity enrichment and preparative isolation, the structure of the impurity was subsequently established through LC/HRMS, HRMSMS, H/D exchange and 2D-NMR studies. A kinetic study of the impurity formation was conducted to determine the best conditions to control it in the final chemical process.

huaming GRAPH ABS

Enhancing the utility of 1JCH

coverEnhancing the utility of 1JCH couplings constants in structural studies through optimized DFT analysis, by Alexei V. Buevich, Josep Saurí, Teodor Parella, Nunziatina De Tommasi, Giuseppe Bifulco, R. Thomas Williamson and Gary E. Martin. Chem. Comm. 2019. Accepted Manuscript. DOI: 10.1039/C9CC02469G

Commonly used DFT methods for calculation of 1JCH coupling constants have typically required the application of ad hoc correction factors, modifications of functionals, or empirical scaling to improve the fit between predicted and experimental values. Here we demonstrate that highly accurate 1JCH coupling predictions can be obtained without such adjustments by careful selection of DFT methods for geometry optimization and J-coupling calculations (e.g. B3LYP/6-31G(d,p)(mixed)//mPW1PW/cc-pVTZ). The proposed method was cross-validated against a diverse set of 122 1JCH couplings and was successfully applied to the conformational and stereochemical analysis of strychnine and a previously unreported trachylobane diterpene natural product.


Cyanobufalins: Cardioactive Toxins from Cyanobacterial Blooms

Cjnprdf-2018-81-issue-10-largecoveryanobufalins: Cardioactive Toxins from Cyanobacterial Blooms, by Haiyin He, Matthew J. Bertin, ShiBiao Wu, Paul G. Wahome, Kevin R. Beauchesne, Ross O. Youngs, Paul V. Zimba, Peter D. R. Moeller, Josep Saurí and Guy T. Carter. J. Nat. Prod. 2018. Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.8b00736

Cyanobufalins A–C (13), a new series of cardiotoxic steroids, have been discovered from cyanobacterial blooms in Buckeye Lake and Grand Lake St. Marys in Ohio. Compounds 13contain distinctive structural features, including geminal methyl groups at C-4, a 7,8 double bond, and a C-16 chlorine substituent that distinguish them from plant- or animal-derived congeners. Despite these structural differences, the compounds are qualitatively identical to bufalin in their cytotoxic profiles versus cell lines in tissue culture and cardiac activity, as demonstrated in an impedance-based cellular assay conducted with IPSC-derived cardiomyocytes. Cyanobufalins are nonselectively toxic to human cells in the single-digit nanomolar range and show stimulation of contractility in cardiomyocytes at sub-nanomolar concentrations. The estimated combined concentration of 13 in the environment is in the same nanomolar range, and consequently more precise quantitative analyses are recommended along with more detailed cardiotoxicity studies. This is the first time that cardioactive steroid toxins have been found associated with microorganisms in an aquatic environment. Several factors point to a microbial biosynthetic origin for the cyanobufalins.


Trichophycins B–F, Polyketides from a Cyanobacterial Bloom


Trichophycins B–F, Chlorovinylidene-Containing Polyketides Isolated from a Cyanobacterial Bloom, by Matthew J. Bertin, Josep Saurí, Yizhou Liu, Christopher W. Via, Alexandre F. Roduit and R. Thomas Williamson. J. Org. Chem2018. Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.8b02070

NMR-guided isolation (based on 1D 1H and 13C NMR resonances consistent with a chlorovinylidene moiety) resulted in the characterization of five new highly functionalized polyketides, trichophycins B–F (15), and one nonchlorinated metabolite tricholactone (6) from a collection of Trichodesmium bloom material from the Gulf of Mexico. The planar structures of 16were determined using 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and complementary spectroscopic procedures. Absolute configuration analysis of 1 and 2 were carried out by 1H NMR analysis of diastereomeric Mosher esters in addition to ECD spectroscopy, J-based configuration analysis, and DFT calculations. The absolute configurations of 36 were proposed on the basis of comparative analysis of 13C NMR chemical shifts, relative configurations, and optical rotation values to compounds 1 and 2. Compounds 15 represent new additions to the trichophycin family and are hallmarked by a chlorovinylidene moiety. These new trichophycins and tricholactone (16) feature intriguing variations with respect to putative biosynthetic starting units, halogenation, and terminations, and trichophycin E (4) features a rare alkynyl bromide functionality. The phenyl-containing trichophycins showed low cytotoxicity to neuro-2A cells, while the alkyne-containing trichophycins showed no toxicity.


Jizanpeptins, depsipeptides isolated from the Red Sea

jnprdf-2018-81-issue-5-largecoverJizanpeptins, Cyanobacterial Protease Inhibitors from a Symploca sp. Cyanobacterium Collected in the Red Sea, by David A. Gallegos, Josep Saurí, Ryan D. Cohen, Xuemei Wan, Patrick Videau, Alec O. Vallota-Eastman, Lamiaa A. Shaala, Diaa T. A. Youssef, R. Thomas Williamson, Gary E. Martin, Benjamin Philmus, Aleksandra E. Sikora, Jane E. Ishmael and Kerry L. McPhail. J. Nat. Prod2018. Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.8b00117

Jizanpeptins A–E (15) are micropeptin depsipeptides isolated from a Red Sea specimen of a Symploca sp. cyanobacterium. The planar structures of the jizanpeptins were established using NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry and contain 3-amino-6-hydroxy-2-piperidone (Ahp) as one of eight residues in a typical micropeptin motif, as well as a side chain terminal glyceric acid sulfate moiety. The absolute configurations of the jizanpeptins were assigned using a combination of Marfey’s methodology and chiral-phase HPLC analysis of hydrolysis products compared to commercial and synthesized standards. Jizanpeptins A–E showed specific inhibition of the serine protease trypsin (IC50 = 72 nM to 1 μM) compared to chymotrypsin (IC50 = 1.4 to >10 μM) in vitro and were not overtly cytotoxic to HeLa cervical or NCI-H460 lung cancer cell lines at micromolar concentrations.


3J(CC) correlations in 1,1‐ADEQUATE spectra of pyrimidine analogs

Observation of untoward 3JCC correlations in 1,1‐ADEQUATE spectra of pyrimidine analogs: Avoiding potential interpretation pitfalls, by Hai-Young Kim, Josep Saurí, Ryan D. Cohen and Gary E. Martin. Magn. Reson. Chem. 2018. DOI: 10.1002/mrc.4736

Recently, it has been reported that large nJCC correlations can sometimes be observed in 1,1‐ADEQUATE spectra with significant intensity, which opens the possibility of structural misassignment. In this work, we have focused on pyrimidine‐based compounds, which exhibit multiple bond correlations in the 1,1‐ADEQUATE experiment as a consequence of 3JCC coupling constants greater than 10 Hz. Results are supported by both the experimental measurement of 3JCC coupling constants in question using J‐modulated‐ADEQUATE and density functional theory calculations.