Asymmetric synthesis of alpha-substituted beta-amino ketones from sulfinimines (N-sulfinyl imines). synthesis of the indolizidine alkaloid (-)-223A.J Am Chem Soc. 2005 Jun 15; 127(23):8398-407.JA
Of the possible four stereoisomers, addition of the lithium enolate of 4-heptanone to sulfinimines resulted in only the syn- and anti-alpha-substituted beta-amino ketones. The formation of the major syn-beta-amino ketone was rationalized in terms of addition of the E-enolate to the C-N double bond of the sulfinimine via a six-member chelated chairlike transition state. The enolates of 4-heptanone were generated using LiHMDS in THF where a 1:2.5 E:Z enolate ratio was noted. In diethyl ether the E:Z ratio was 15:1 in favor of the E-enolate and explained in terms of Ireland's transition state model. Here increased steric interactions between the ethyl group and the carbonyl-LiN(TMS)(2) moiety destabilize the transition state leading to the Z-enolate in the poorly coordinating diethyl ether solvent. This new synthesis of syn-alpha-substituted-beta-amino ketones was applied to the concise enantioselective total synthesis of indolizidine (-)-223A, a 5,6,8-trisubstituted alkaloid isolated from the skin of the dendrobatide frog.