A series of twelve benzoate esters was metabolised, by species of the Phellinus genus of wood-rotting fungi, to yield the corresponding benzyl alcohol derivatives and eight salicylates. The isolation of a stable oxepine metabolite, from methyl benzoate, allied to evidence of the migration and retention of a carbomethoxy group ( the NIH Shift), during enzyme-catalysed ortho-hydroxylation of alkyl benzoates to form salicylates, is consistent with a mechanism involving an initial arene epoxidation step. This mechanism was confirmed by the isolation of a remarkably stable, optically active, substituted benzene oxide metabolite of methyl 2-( trifluoromethyl) benzoate, which slowly converted into the racemic form. The arene oxide was found to undergo a cycloaddition reaction with 4-phenyl-1,2,4-triazoline-3,5-dione to yield a crystalline cycloadduct whose structure and racemic nature was established by X-ray crystallography. The metabolite was also found to undergo some novel benzene oxide reactions, including epoxidation to give an anti-diepoxide, base-catalysed hydrolysis to form a trans-dihydrodiol and acid-catalysed aromatisation to yield a salicylate derivative via the NIH Shift of a carbomethoxy group.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)