Chiral phosphoric acid catalyzed aminative dearomatization of α-naphthols/Michael addition sequence.Nat Commun. 2019 07 17; 10(1):3150.NC
Asymmetric dearomatization reactions have recently emerged as a powerful tool for the rapid build-up of the molecular complexity. Chiral three-dimensional polycyclic molecules bearing contiguous stereogenic centers can be synthesized from readily available planar aromatic feedstocks. Here we report that an intermolecular asymmetric dearomatization reaction of α-naphthols bearing a tethered nucleophile at the C4 position of the naphthol ring is achieved by a chiral phosphoric acid. The reaction proceeds via a highly chemo- and regioselective aminative dearomatization/Michael addition sequence, affording a wide array of functionalized cyclic ketones in good yields (up to 93%) with excellent enantioselectivity (up to >99% ee). The catalyst loading can be reduced to 0.1 mol%. Preliminary mechanistic investigations identify that the enantioselectivity is established in the dearomatization step, while the Michael addition is the rate-limiting step. A working model accounting for the origin of the stereochemistry is proposed based on DFT calculations.