Trienamines in Asymmetric Organocatalysis: Diels−Alder and Tandem Reactions

The discovery of a novel activation mode provided by organocatalysis is presented. It is demonstrated that the merger of optically active secondary amines and polyenals generates reactive trienamine intermediates, which readily participate in Diels−Alder reactions with different classes of dienophiles, hence, providing a facile entry to highly complex molecular frameworks with excellent stereocontrol. For the Diels−Alder reactions with 3-olefinic oxindoles, spirocyclic oxidoles are formed in high yields, and with enantioselectivities in the range of 94−98% ee. It is demonstrated, that some of these products can be transformed into the hexahydrofuro[2,3-b]indole fragment. The organocatalytic trienamine concept has been extended to also include Diels−Alder reactions of olefins substituted with cyanoacetates providing multifunctional cyclohexenes with three contiguous stereocenters in high yield and good stereocontrol. The novelty of this activation strategy lies within the perfect chirality relay over a distance of up to eight bonds. Moreover, we also present the first trienamine tandem reaction by combining trienamine catalysis with enamine activation. In addition to the experimental results, a detailed mechanistic survey is also provided including NMR spectroscopic studies and calculations of the reactive trienamine intermediates, rationalizing the origin of stereochemistry.