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Toward a Predictive Understanding of Phosphine-Catalyzed [3 + 2] Annulation of Allenoates with Acrylate or Imine

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journal contribution
posted on 16.08.2018, 00:00 by Zhaoyuan Yu, Zhichao Jin, Meng Duan, Ruopeng Bai, Yixin Lu, Yu Lan
Both theoretical and experimental studies were performed to explore the mechanism, regioselectivity, and enantioselectivity of phosphine-catalyzed [3 + 2] annulation between allenoates and acrylate or imine. Using density functional theory computations, we predicted that the enantioselective determining step is the nucleophilic addition of acrylate or imine to the catalyst-activated allenoate. In the key step, we proposed two hydrogen bonding interaction models (intermolecular H-bond model and intramolecular H-bond model). For acrylate substrates, the reaction proceeds via the intramolecular H-bond model and the strong noncovalent interactions between the 2-naphthyl ester moiety lead to the re-face attack pathway being more favorable. For imine substrates, the intermolecular H-bond model operates. In the annulation process, the bulky n-propyl oriented toward a crowded, sterically demanding environment plays a significant role in asymmetric induction. The theoretical calculation results agreed with experimental observations, and these results provide valuable insight into catalyst design and understanding of mechanisms of related reactions.