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Diastereoselective Radical Aminoacylation of Olefins through N‑Heterocyclic Carbene Catalysis

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journal contribution
posted on 24.11.2022, 20:03 authored by Wen-Deng Liu, Woojin Lee, Hanyu Shu, Chuyu Xiao, Huiwei Xu, Xiangyang Chen, Kendall N. Houk, Jiannan Zhao
There have been significant advancements in radical-mediated reactions through covalent-based organocatalysis. Here, we present the generation of iminyl and amidyl radicals via N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) catalysis, enabling diastereoselective aminoacylation of trisubstituted alkenes. Different from photoredox catalysis, single electron transfer from the deprotonated Breslow intermediate to O-aryl hydroxylamine generates an NHC-bound ketyl radical, which undergoes diastereocontrolled cross-coupling with the prochiral C-centered radical. This operationally simple method provides a straightforward access to a variety of pyrroline and oxazolidinone heterocycles with vicinal stereocenters (77 examples, up to >19:1 d.r.). Electrochemical studies of the acyl thiazolium salts support our reaction design and highlight the reducing ability of Breslow-type derivatives. A detailed computational analysis of this organocatalytic system suggests that radical–radical coupling is the rate-determining step, in which π–π stacking interaction between the radical intermediates subtly controls the diastereoselectivity.