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Bifunctional iminophosphorane superbase catalysis: applications in organic synthesis

DOI: 10.1021/acs.accounts.0c00369 DOI Help

Authors: Michele Formica (University of Oxford) , Daniel Rozsar (University of Oxford) , Guanglong Su (University of Oxford) , Alistair J. M. Farley (University of Oxford) , Darren J. Dixon (University of Oxford)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Accounts Of Chemical Research

State: Published (Approved)
Published: September 2020

Abstract: To improve the field of catalysis, there is a substantial and growing need for novel high-performance catalysts providing new reactivity. To date, however, the set of reactions that can be reliably performed to prepare chiral compounds in largely one enantiomeric form using chiral catalysts still represents a small fraction of the toolkit of known transformations. In this context, chiral Brønsted bases have played an expanding role in catalyzing enantioselective reactions between various carbon- and heteroatom-centered acids and a host of electrophilic reagents. This Account describes our recent efforts developing and applying a new family of chiral Brønsted bases incorporating an H-bond donor moiety and a strongly basic iminophosphorane, which we have named BIMPs (Bifunctional IMinoPhosphoranes), as efficient catalysts for reactions currently out of reach of more widespread tertiary amine centered bifunctional catalysts. The iminophosphorane Brønsted base is easily generated by the Staudinger reaction of a chiral organoazide and commercially available phosphine, which allows easy modification of the catalyst structure and fine-tuning of the iminophosphorane pKBH+. We have demonstrated that BIMP catalysts can efficiently promote the enantioselective addition of nitromethane to low reactivity N-diphenylphosphinoyl (DPP)-protected imines of ketones (ketimines) to access valuable chiral diamine and α-quaternary amino acid building blocks, and later extended this methodology to phosphite nucleophiles. Subsequently, the reaction scope was expanded to include the Michael addition of high pKa alkyl thiols to α-substituted acrylate esters, β-substituted α,β-unsaturated esters, and alkenyl benzimidazoles as well as the challenging direct aldol addition of aryl ketones to α-fluorinated ketones. Finally, BIMP catalysts were shown to be used in key steps in the synthesis of complex alkaloid natural products (−)-nakadomarin A and (−)-himalensine A, as well as in polymer synthesis. In most cases, the predictable nature of the BIMP promoted reactions was demonstrated by multigram scale-up while employing low catalyst loadings (down to 0.05 mol%). Furthermore, it was shown that BIMP catalysts can be easily immobilized onto a solid support in one-step for increased catalyst recycling and flow chemistry applications. Alongside our own work, this Account also includes elegant work by Johnson and co-workers utilizing the BIMP catalyst system, when alternative catalysts proved suboptimal.

Journal Keywords: Amines; Addition reactions; Catalysts; Organic compounds; Brønsted base

Subject Areas: Chemistry


Technical Areas: