Chem Sci. 2023 Aug 16;14(35):9496-9502. doi: 10.1039/d3sc02705h. eCollection 2023 Sep 13.
An axially chiral styrene-based organocatalyst, featuring a combination of axially chiral styrene-based structure and a pyrrole ring, has been designed and synthesized. This catalyst demonstrates remarkable capabilities in producing a wide range of densely substituted spirooxindoles that feature an alkyne-substituted quaternary stereogenic center. These spirooxindoles are generated through mild cascade Michael/cyclization reactions, resulting in high conversion rates and exceptional enantioselectivity. Our catalytic model, based on experiments, X-ray structure analysis and DFT calculations suggests that chiral matched π-π interactions and multiple H-bonds between the organocatalyst and substrates play significant roles in controlling the stereoselectivity of the reaction.