Nat Commun. 2023 Aug 19;14(1):5050. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-40840-7.
The precise and efficient construction of axially chiral scaffolds, particularly toward the aryl-alkene atropoisomers with impeccably full enantiocontrol and highly structural diversity, remains greatly challenging. Herein, we disclose an organocatalytic asymmetric nucleophilic aromatic substitution (SNAr) reaction of aldehyde-substituted styrenes involving a dynamic kinetic resolution process via a hemiacetal intermediate, offering a novel and facile way to significant axial styrene scaffolds. Upon treatment of the aldehyde-containing styrenes bearing (o-hydroxyl)aryl unit with commonly available fluoroarenes in the presence of chiral peptide-phosphonium salts, the SNAr reaction via an exquisite bridged biaryl lactol intermediate undergoes smoothly to furnish a series of axially chiral aldehyde-containing styrenes decorated with various functionalities and bioactive fragments in high stereoselectivities (up to >99% ee) and complete E/Z selectivities. These resulting structural motifs are important building blocks for the preparation of diverse functionalized axial styrenes, which have great potential as efficient and privileged chiral ligands/catalysts in asymmetric synthesis.