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A Gallium-Catalyzed Cycloisomerization/Friedel−Crafts Tandem

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posted on 17.12.2010, 00:00 by Hui-Jing Li, Régis Guillot, Vincent Gandon
Under noble (Au, Pt, Ru) and group 13 (Ga, In) metals catalysis, 1,6-arenynes rearrange to give 1,2-dihydronaphthalenes in a high yielding, regiocontrolled fashion. When the reaction is carried out in the presence of electron-rich arenes (anisole, phenol, indole derivatives), Friedel−Crafts addition may follow the cycloisomerization step. Only GaX3 salts proved able to catalyze these two C−C bond formation events. This specificity of gallium has been exploited for the synthesis of valuable polycyclic compounds that would be very difficult to prepare otherwise. For instance, tetrahydroisoquinolines and tetrahydrobenzoazepines have been obtained by selective 6-exo-dig or 7-endo-dig cyclization of N-tethered 1,6-arenynes. DFT calculations were carried out to shed light on the mechanism and provide a rationale for this regiodivergency. Computations also reveal the fundamental role of the tether in the stabilization of carbocationic species. Differential reactivities of other types of substrates in gallium- and gold-catalyzed cascades are also exposed, showing that the two approaches are complementary. In particular, bimolecular Friedel−Crafts additions are facilitated under gallium catalysis.