Enantioselective synthesis of chiral sulfones by Rh-catalyzed asymmetric addition of boronic acids to alpha,beta-unsaturated 2-pyridyl sulfones.J Org Chem. 2007 Dec 21; 72(26):9924-35.JO
A general and efficient method for the rhodium-catalyzed enantioselective catalytic conjugate addition of organoboronic acids to alpha,beta-unsaturated sulfones is described. The success of the process relies on the use of alpha,beta-unsaturated 2-pyridyl sulfones as key metal-coordinating substrates; typical sulfones such as vinyl phenyl sulfones are inert under the reaction conditions. Among a variety of chiral ligands, Chiraphos provided the best asymmetric induction. This rhodium [Rh(acac)(C2H4)2]/Chiraphos catalyst system has a broad scope, being applicable to the addition of both aryl and alkenyl boronic acids to cis and trans alpha,beta-unsaturated 2-pyridyl sulfones. In most cases, especially in the addition of aryl boronic acids, the reactions take place cleanly and with high enantioselectivity, affording chiral beta-substituted 2-pyridyl sulfones in good yields and enantioselectivities (70-92% ee). The sense and magnitude of this enantioselectivity have been studied by DFT theoretical calculations of the aryl-rhodium insertion step. These calculations strongly support the formation of a five-membered pyridyl-rhodium chelated species as the most stable complex after the insertion into the C=C bond. These highly enantioenriched chiral sulfones are very appealing building blocks in enantioselective synthesis. For instance, the straightforward elimination of the 2-pyridylsulfonyl group by either Julia-Kociensky olefination or alkylation/desulfonylation sequences provides a variety of functionalized chiral compounds, such as allylic substituted alkenes or beta-substituted ketones and esters.