A number of naturally occurring substances, including hamigerans, contain ring systems which are fused to an aromatic nucleus. A general and streamlined method for the construction of such benzannulated bi- and polycyclic carbon frameworks has been developed, and its scope and limitations were explored. On the basis of the photoenolization of substituted benzaldehydes and subsequent Diels-Alder (PEDA) trapping of the generated hydroxy-o-quinodimethanes, this method was optimized to set the stage for the total synthesis of several naturally occurring members of the hamigeran class. Specifically, the developed synthetic technology served as the centerpiece process for the successful asymmetric synthesis of hamigerans A (2), B (3), and E (7). In addition to the PEDA reactions, several other novel reaction processes are described, including a high-yielding decarbonylative ring contraction and an oxidative decarboxylation of a hydroxyl beta-keto ester to afford an alpha-diketone. A number of analogues of these biologically active natural products were also prepared by application of the developed technology.
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