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Dispersion-Controlled Regioselective Acid-Catalyzed Intramolecular Hydroarylation of cis-Methindolylstyrenes to Access Tetrahydrobenzo[cd]indoles


Readily prepared cis - β -( α ’, α ’-dimethyl)-4’-methindolylstyrenes undergo Brønsted acid-catalyzed intramolecular hydroarylation to afford a variety of 3-aryl-5,5-dimethyl-1,3,4,5-tetrahydrobenzo[ cd ]indoles. Our experimental and computational investigations suggest that dispersive interactions between the indole and styrene preorganize substrates such that 6-membered ring formation occurs via a concerted hydroarylation step. When dispersability is attenuated (by a substituent or heteroatom), regioselectivity erodes and competing oligomerization predominates for cis substrates; all trans -configured substrates that we evaluated failed to cyclize efficiently.

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