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Traceless Electrophilic Amination for the Synthesis of Unprotected Cyclic β‑Amino Acids

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journal contribution
posted on 12.06.2019, 00:00 by Jin-Sheng Yu, Miguel Espinosa, Hidetoshi Noda, Masakatsu Shibasaki
Electrophilic aminations involve an umpolung of a nitrogen atom, providing an alternate, distinctive synthetic strategy. The recent advent of various designed O-substituted hydroxylamines has significantly advanced this research field. An underappreciated issue is atom economy of the transformations: The necessary activating group on the oxygen atom is left in coproduced waste. Herein, we describe Rh-catalyzed electrophilic amination of substituted isoxazolidin-5-ones for the synthesis of unprotected, cyclic β-amino acids featuring either benzo-fused or spirocyclic scaffolds. Using the cyclic hydroxylamines allows for retaining both nitrogen and oxygen functionalities in the product. The traceless, redox neutral process proceeds on a gram scale with as little as 0.1 mol % catalyst loading. In contrast to related electrophilic aminations in the literature, a series of mechanistic experiments suggests a unique pathway involving spirocyclization, followed by the skeletal rearrangement. The insights provided herein shed light on a nuanced reactivity of the active species, Rh-nitrenoid generated from the activated hydroxylamine, and extend the knowledge on electrophilic aromatic substitutions.