Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday Fun - Maitotoxin Watch

For those keeping tabs on K.C. Nicolaou's potential career capstone, the group has published another fragment (QRSTUVWXYZA') of the ladder polyether maitotoxin. By my count (and thanks to their handy graphic, below), they've now formed 30 of the 32 requisite rings, meaning we'll likely see a completed total synthesis in the next few years.*

Top: Maitotoxin
Bottom: Previously disclosed fragments
Source: Nicolaou | JACS 2014 ASAP

When Nicolaou's group announced the move to Rice, one of my first thoughts was "who gets to personally chaperone the maitotoxin fragments to their new home?" I'm picturing combination-locked black suitcases handcuffed to postdocs' wrists, but perhaps the samples just went in the back of a U-Haul truck with all the other lab equipment.

Happy Friday,
See Arr Oh
*Assuming they can work out the ring fusion and selective sulfate chemistry - not trivial tasks by any means!


  1. Whats the word.... how do you say... let me put this..... oh yeah, "colossal waste of grant money."

  2. You just build them like Legos, right? 10 segments individually then just push them together?

  3. 3.5ug of this in my system and I'd be a dead man. I hope they are careful if they ever make it.