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H3PO2‑Catalyzed Intramolecular Stereospecific Substitution of the Hydroxyl Group in Enantioenriched Secondary Alcohols by N‑, O‑, and S‑Centered Nucleophiles to Generate Heterocycles

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journal contribution
posted on 31.12.2019, 23:03 by Anon Bunrit, Pemikar Srifa, Thanya Rukkijakan, Christian Dahlstrand, Genping Huang, Srijit Biswas, Rahul A. Watile, Joseph S. M. Samec
The direct intramolecular stereospecific substitution of the hydroxyl group in enantiomerically enriched secondary benzylic, allylic, propargylic, and alkyl alcohols was successfully accomplished by phosphinic acid catalysis. The hydroxyl group was displaced by O-, S-, and N-centered nucleophiles to provide enantioenriched five-membered tetrahydrofuran, pyrrolidine, and tetrahydrothiophene as well as six-membered tetrahydroquinolines and chromanes in up to a 99% yield and 100% enantiospecificity with water as the only byproduct. Mechanistic studies using both experiments and calculations have been performed for substrates generating 5-membered heterocycles. Rate studies show dependences in a catalyst, an internal nucleophile, and an electrophile, however, independence in an external nucleophile, an electrophile, or water. Kinetic isotope effect studies show an inverse KIE of kH/kD = 0.79. Furthermore, phosphinic acid does not promote SN1 reactivity. Computational studies support a bifunctional role of the phosphinic acid in which activation of both nucleofuge and nucleophile occurs in a bridging SN2-type transition state. In this transition state, the acidic hydrogen of phosphinic acid protonates the leaving hydroxyl group simultaneously as the oxo group partially deprotonates the nucleophile. Thereby, phosphinic acid promotes the substitution of the nonderivatized hydroxyl group in enantioenriched secondary alcohols by uncharged nucleophiles with conservation of the chirality from the alcohol to the heterocycle.