American Chemical Society
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Intramolecular Homolytic Substitution at Selenium:  Synthesis of Novel Selenium-Containing Vitamin E Analogues

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journal contribution
posted on 2001-08-24, 00:00 authored by Nawaf Al-Maharik, Lars Engman, Jonas Malmström, Carl H. Schiesser
Treatment of 1-(benzylselenenyl)-5-butyl-5-nonanol (10) with oxalyl chloride followed by the sodium salt of N-hydroxypyridine-2-thione afforded the corresponding pyridine-2-thione-N-oxycarbonyl (PTOC) oxalate ester which was not isolated but immediately heated to provide 2,2-dibutylselenane (7). This transformation presumably involves a tertiary alkyl radical that undergoes intramolecular homolytic substitution at selenium with loss of the benzyl radical to provide the selenium-containing ring system (7). A similar protocol, when applied to 1-(2-benzylselenenyl-5-methoxyphenyl)-3-methyl-3-heptanol (18) and 1-(2-benzylselenenyl-5-methoxyphenyl)-3,7,11,15-tetramethyl-3-hexadecanol (19), followed by deprotection, afforded the selenium-containing α-tocopherol analogues 4 and 1f, respectively, in moderate yields. To the best of our knowledge, these transformations represent the first examples of tertiary radicals involved in homolytic substitution chemistry at selenium.