Asymmetric redox benzylation of enals enabled by NHC/Ru cooperative catalysis

Sci Adv. 2023 Apr 21;9(16):eadf5606. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adf5606. Epub 2023 Apr 19.


The development of general methods for asymmetric benzylation of prochiral carbon nucleophiles remains a challenge in organic synthesis. The merging of ruthenium catalysis and N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) catalysis for asymmetric redox benzylation of enals has been achieved, which opens up strategic opportunities for the asymmetric benzylation reactions. A wide range of 3,3′-disubstituted oxindoles with a stereogenic quaternary carbon center widely existing in natural products and biologically interesting molecules is successfully obtained with excellent enantioselectivities [up to 99% enantiomeric excess (ee)]. The generality of this catalytic strategy was further highlighted by its successful application in the late-stage functionalization of oxindole skeletons. Furthermore, the linear correlation between ee values of NHC precatalyst and the product elucidated the independent catalytic cycle of either the NHC catalyst or the ruthenium complex.

PMID:37075106 | DOI:10.1126/sciadv.adf5606


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