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    08/09/17 | General synthetic method for Si-Fluoresceins and Si-Rhodamines.
    Grimm JB, Brown TA, Tkachuk AN, Lavis LD
    ACS Central Science. 2017 Aug 09;3(9):975-85. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00247

    The century-old fluoresceins and rhodamines persist as flexible scaffolds for fluorescent and fluorogenic compounds. Extensive exploration of these xanthene dyes has yielded general structure–activity relationships where the development of new probes is limited only by imagination and organic chemistry. In particular, replacement of the xanthene oxygen with silicon has resulted in new red-shifted Si-fluoresceins and Si-rhodamines, whose high brightness and photostability enable advanced imaging experiments. Nevertheless, efforts to tune the chemical and spectral properties of these dyes have been hindered by difficult synthetic routes. Here, we report a general strategy for the efficient preparation of Si-fluoresceins and Si-rhodamines from readily synthesized bis(2-bromophenyl)silane intermediates. These dibromides undergo metal/bromide exchange to give bis-aryllithium or bis(aryl Grignard) intermediates, which can then add to anhydride or ester electrophiles to afford a variety of Si-xanthenes. This strategy enabled efficient (3–5 step) syntheses of known and novel Si-fluoresceins, Si-rhodamines, and related dye structures. In particular, we discovered that previously inaccessible tetrafluorination of the bottom aryl ring of the Si-rhodamines resulted in dyes with improved visible absorbance in solution, and a convenient derivatization through fluoride-thiol substitution. This modular, divergent synthetic method will expand the palette of accessible xanthenoid dyes across the visible spectrum, thereby pushing further the frontiers of biological imaging.

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