NHC-Ni(II)-catalyzed cyclopropene-isocyanide [5 + 1] benzannulation

Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 16;13(1):4145. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-31896-y.


Isocyanides are common compounds in fine and bulk chemical syntheses. However, the direct addition of isocyanide to simple unactivated cyclopropene via transition metal catalysis is challenging. Most of the current approaches focus on 1,1-insertion of isocyanide to M-R or nucleophilc insertion. That is often complicated by the competitive homo-oligomerization reactivity occurring at room temperature, such as isocyanide 1,1-insertion by Ni(II). Here we show a (N-heterocyclic carbene)Ni(II) catalyst that enables cyclopropene-isocyanide [5 + 1] benzannulation. As shown in the broad substrate scope and a [trans-(N-heterocyclic carbene)Ni(isocyanide)Br2] crystal structure, the desired cross-reactivity is cooperatively controlled by the high reactivity of the cyclopropene, the sterically bulky N-heterocyclic carbene, and the strong coordination ability of the isocyanide. This direct addition strategy offers aromatic amine derivatives and complements the Dötz benzannulation and Semmelhack/Wulff 1,4-hydroquinone synthesis. Several sterically bulky, fused, and multi-substituted anilines and unsymmetric functionalized spiro-ring structures are prepared from those easily accessible starting materials expediently.

PMID:35842422 | PMC:PMC9288548 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-022-31896-y


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