Studies Dealing with the Cycloaddition/Ring Opening/Elimination Sequence of 2-Amino-Substituted Isobenzofurans

The α-thiocarbocation generated from the Pummerer reaction of an o-amido-substituted sulfoxide is intercepted by the adjacent amido carbonyl group to produce a 2-amino-substituted isobenzofuran as a transient intermediate. In the presence of an electron-deficient dienophile, the reactive isobenzofuran undergoes a Diels−Alder cycloaddition followed by ring opening to furnish a vinylogous C-acyliminium ion that readily aromatizes. The one-pot intramolecular cascade process only occurs either if the olefinic tether is activated by an ester or if a carbonyl group is located adjacent to the nitrogen atom of the 2-amino-substituted isobenzofuran. To examine the amine vs amide influence on the course of intramolecular cycloaddition, density functional theory (DFT) calculations have been carried out for both ground and transition states. The results strongly suggest that the amide-substituted isobenzofurans are destabilized by steric effects between the aromatic ring and the nitrogen-containing side chain. Raising of the ground-state amide energies thereby reduces the activation energy for internal cycloaddition and leads to Diels−Alder adducts more rapidly than for the corresponding amines. Amide tethers emerge as remote-site promoters of intramolecular cycloaddition for tandem processes yielding products with multiple fused rings.