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Phosphine-Catalyzed [4 + 2] Annulation:  Synthesis of Cyclohexenes

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posted on 2007-10-24, 00:00 authored by Yang S. Tran, Ohyun Kwon
Phosphine-catalyzed [4 + 2] annulations of α-alkylallenoates with activated olefins allow the efficient syntheses of cyclohexenes. Hexamethylphosphorous triamide (HMPT)-catalyzed [4 + 2] annulations of α-alkylallenoates with arylidenemalononitriles provided highly functionalized 5,5-dicyano-4,6-disubstituted cyclohex-1-enecarboxylates in excellent yields (77−98%) and moderate to high diastereoselectivities (1:2−12:1). Remarkably, the corresponding triarylphosphine-catalyzed [4 + 2] annulations of α-methylallenoate with arylidenemalononitriles manifested a polarity inversion of the 1,4-dipole synthon, providing 4,4-dicyano-5-substituted cyclohex-1-enecarboxylates in excellent yields (80−93%). The polarity inversion of α-alkylallenoates from one 1,4-dipole to another under phosphine catalysis presumably resulted from a change in the balance of the equilibrium between the phosphonium dienolate and the vinylogous phosphonium ylide intermediate.