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Tandem Phosphine–Palladium Catalysis and Total Syntheses of Natural Products


In Chapter 1, tertiary phosphines undergo conjugate additions to activated carbon–carbon multiple bonds to form β-phosphonium enolates, β-phosphonium dienolates, β-phosphonium enoates, and vinyl phosphonium ylides as intermediates. When these reactive zwitterionic species react with nucleophiles and electrophiles, they may generate carbo- and heterocycles with multifarious molecular architectures. This article describes the reactivities of these phosphonium zwitterions, the applications of phosphine catalysis in the syntheses of biologically active compounds and natural products, and recent developments in the enantioselective phosphine catalysis.

In Chapter 2, we prepared oxazolidines through 1,3-bis(diphenylphosphino)-propane (DPPP)–catalyzed mixed double-Michael reactions of β-amino alcohols with electron-deficient acetylenes. These reactions are very suitable for the diversity-oriented parallel syntheses of oxazolidines because: (i) they are performed under mild metal-free conditions and (ii) the products are isolated without complicated work-up. To demonstrate the applicability of mixed double-Michael reactions for the preparation of five-membered-ring heterocycles, we prepared 60 distinct oxazolidines from five β-amino alcohols and 12 electron-deficient acetylenes. We synthesized 36 of these 60 oxazolidines in enantiomerically pure form from proteinogenic amino acid–derived β-amino alcohols.

In Chapter 3, we used sequential catalysis—PPh3-catalyzed nucleophilic addition followed by Pd(0)-catalyzed Heck cyclization—to construct complex functionalized alkylidene phthalans rapidly, in high yields, and with good stereoselectivities (E/Z ratios of up to 1:22). The scope of this Michael–Heck reaction includes substrates bearing various substituents around the alkylidene phthalan backbone. Applying this efficient sequential catalysis, we accomplished concise total syntheses of 3-deoxyisoochacinic acid, isoochracinic acid, and isoochracinol.

In Chapter 4, densely functionalized alkylidene indanes and indanones can be prepared efficiently in one pot, in high yields with good stereoselectivities (in some cases exclusively the Z-isomer), through a route involving phosphine-catalyzed Michael addition followed by palladium-catalyzed Heck cyclization. These transformations tolerate substrates bearing various substituents around the indane/indanone motif. Employing this technology, a concise formal synthesis of sulindac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, has been established.

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