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A Computational and Experimental Investigation of the Origin of Selectivity in the Chiral Phosphoric Acid Catalyzed Enantioselective Minisci Reaction.

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Ermanis, Kristaps 
Colgan, Avene C 
Hadrys, Barbara W 


The Minisci reaction is one of the most valuable methods for directly functionalizing basic heteroarenes to form carbon-carbon bonds. Use of prochiral, heteroatom-substituted radicals results in stereocenters being formed adjacent to the heteroaromatic system, generating motifs which are valuable in medicinal chemistry and chiral ligand design. Recently a highly enantioselective and regioselective protocol for the Minisci reaction was developed, using chiral phosphoric acid catalysis. However, the precise mechanism by which this process operated and the origin of selectivity remained unclear, making it challenging to develop the reaction more generally. Herein we report further experimental mechanistic studies which feed into detailed DFT calculations that probe the precise nature of the stereochemistry-determining step. Computational and experimental evidence together support Curtin-Hammett control in this reaction, with initial radical addition being quick and reversible, and enantioselectivity being achieved in the subsequent slower, irreversible deprotonation. A detailed survey via DFT calculations assessed a number of different possibilities for selectivity-determining deprotonation of the radical cation intermediate. Computations point to a clear preference for an initially unexpected mode of internal deprotonation enacted by the amide group, which is a crucial structural feature of the radical precursor, with the assistance of the associated chiral phosphate. This unconventional stereodetermining step underpins the high enantioselectivities and regioselectivities observed. The mechanistic model was further validated by applying it to a test set of substrates possessing varied structural features.



3402 Inorganic Chemistry, 3405 Organic Chemistry, 34 Chemical Sciences, 3407 Theoretical and Computational Chemistry

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J Am Chem Soc

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American Chemical Society (ACS)
Isaac Newton Trust (17.08(D))
Leverhulme Trust (ECF-2017-255)
European Research Council (757381)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P020259/1)
Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2018-081)
Royal Society (URF\R\191003)
EPSRC (2110578)
EPSRC GSSK ERC Leverhulme Trust Isaac Newton Trust
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