Goli, D M; Cheesman, B V; Hassan, M E; Lodaya, R; Slama, J T
(2R,3R,4S)-2-Hydroxymethylpyrrolidine-3,4-diol (1,4-dideoxy-1,4-imino-D-ribitol) was synthesized in five steps from N-protected (2S)-3,4-dehydroproline methyl esters. The stereoselective reaction of osmium tetraoxide with dehydroproline derivatives gave high yields of (2S,3R,4S)-3,4-dihydroxyprolines (2,3-trans-3,4-cis-3,4-dihydroxy-L-prolines) accompanied by small amounts (< 15%) of the diastereomeric (2S,3S,4R)-3,4-dihydroxyprolines (2,3-cis-3,4-cis-3,4-dihydroxy-L-prolines). The mixture of the diastereomeric glycols was converted into the isopropylidene acetals, and the isomers separated efficiently on a preparative scale. The resulting protected (2S,3R,4S)-3,4-dihydroxyproline methyl ester was reduced (LiBH4) to the 2-hydroxymethylpyrrolidine and deprotected, resulting in the production of (2R,3R,4S)-2-hydroxymethylpyrrolidine-3,4-diol in high yield and in high purity. The 1H and 13C NMR signals of the product have been unambiguously assigned using two-dimensional NMR techniques, and the identity of the title pyrrolidine confirmed by comparisons of its spectra with those reported for the authentic material.