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Stereoselective 1,3-Dipolar Cycloadditions of a Chiral Nitrone Derived from Erythrulose. An Experimental and DFT Theoretical Study

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journal contribution
posted on 22.09.2000, 00:00 by Miguel Carda, Raul Portolés, Juan Murga, Santiago Uriel, J. Alberto Marco, Luis R. Domingo, Ramón J. Zaragozá, Harald Röper
We have investigated several 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions of a chiral nitrone prepared from l-erythrulose. While cycloadditions to carbon−carbon multiple bonds of dipolarophiles such as ethyl acrylate, ethyl propiolate, or dimethyl acetylenedicarboxylate were poorly stereoselective, reaction with acrylonitrile provided predominantly one diastereomeric adduct. Furthermore, the regioselectivity exhibited by the two structurally similar dipolarophiles ethyl acrylate and ethyl propiolate was found to be opposite. The molecular mechanisms of these cycloadditions have thus been investigated by means of density functional theory (DFT) methods with the B3LYP functional and the 6-31G* and 6-31+G* basis sets. A simplified achiral version of nitrone 1 as the dipole, and methyl propiolate or acrylonitrile as the dipolarophiles, were chosen as computational models. The cycloadditions have been shown to take place through one-step pathways in which the C−C and C−O σ bonds are formed in a nonsynchronous way. For the reaction with methyl propiolate, DFT calculations predict the experimentally observed meta regioselectivity. For the reaction with acrylonitrile, however, the predicted regioselectivity has been found to depend on the computational level used. The calculations further indicate the exo approach to be energetically favored in the case of the latter dipolarophile, in agreement with experimental findings. The main reason for this is the steric repulsion between the nitrile function and one of the methyl groups on the nitrone that progressively develops in the alternative endo approach.