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Asymmetric Enamine Catalysis with β-Ketoesters by Chiral Primary Amine: Divergent Stereocontrol Modes

Xu, Changming, Zhang, Long, Luo, Sanzhong
Journal of organic chemistry 2014 v.79 no.23 pp. 11517-11526
additives, aldehydes, catalysts, catalytic activity, enamines, ketones, models, organic chemistry, stereoselectivity
α-Branched ketones remain a challenging type of substrates in aminocatalysis due to their congested structures as well as the associated difficulties in controlling chemo- and stereoselectivity. In this work, we have explored asymmetric aminocatalysis with α-substituted β-ketoesters. A simple chiral primary amine catalyst was identified to enable unprecedentedly effective catalysis of β-ketoesters in α-hydrazination and Robinson annulation reaction with good yields and high enantioselectivities. Stoichiometric experiments with preformed enamine ester intermediates revealed their enamine-catalytic nature as well as the critical roles of acidic additives in facilitating catalytic turnovers and in tuning the chemo- and stereoselectivity. With the identical catalytic system, the two reactions demonstrated opposite chiral inductions in terms of the absolute configurations of the newly formed stereogenic centers. Investigations into this intriguing issue by DFT have revealed divergent stereocontrol modes. For α-hydrazination, H-bonding-directed facial attack determines the stereoselectivity, whereas a steric model is applied to the Robinson annulation where dual activations of both β-ketoester and vinyl ketone/aldehyde are involved.