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Prenylcoumarins in One or Two Steps by a Microwave-Promoted Tandem Claisen Rearrangement/Wittig Olefination/Cyclization Sequence

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journal contribution
posted on 11.04.2018, 00:00 by Christiane Schultze, Bernd Schmidt
The one-pot synthesis of 8-prenylcoumarins from 1,1-dimethylallylated salicylaldehydes and the stabilized ylide [(ethoxycarbonyl)­methylene]­triphenylphosphorane under microwave conditions was found to have a limited scope. The sequence suffers from a difficult and sometimes low-yielding synthesis of the precursors and from a competing deprenylation upon microwave irradiation. This side reaction occurs in particular with electron rich arenes with two or more alkoxy groups at adjacent positions, a prominent substitution pattern in naturally occurring 8-prenylcoumarins. Both limitations of this one-step sequence were overcome by a two-step synthesis consisting of a microwave-promoted tandem allyl ether Claisen rearrangement/Wittig olefination and a subsequent olefin cross metathesis with 2-methyl-2-butene. The cross metathesis step proceeds with a high selectivity and yields exclusively the desired prenyl, rather than the alternative crotyl substituent. Several naturally occurring 8-prenylcoumarins that were previously inaccessible have been synthesized in good overall yields along this route.