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Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of 5-Methylpsilocybin: A Tryptamine with Potential Psychedelic Activity

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Abstract

A novel analogue of psilocybin was produced by hybrid chemoenzymatic synthesis in sufficient quantity to enable bioassay. Utilizing purified 4-hydroxytryptamine kinase from Psilocybe cubensis, chemically synthesized 5-methylpsilocin (2) was enzymatically phosphorylated to provide 5-methylpsilocybin (1). The zwitterionic product was isolated from the enzymatic step with high purity utilizing a solvent-antisolvent precipitation approach. Subsequently, 1 was tested for psychedelic-like activity using the mouse head-twitch response assay, which indicated activity that was more potent than the psychedelic dimethyltryptamine, but less potent than that of psilocybin.

Fricke, J., Sherwood, A. M., Halberstadt, A. L., Kargbo, R. B., & Hoffmeister, D. (2021). Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of 5-Methylpsilocybin: A Tryptamine with Potential Psychedelic Activity. Journal of natural products, 84(4), 1403–1408. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00087

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