Silver-Catalyzed Activation of Terminal Alkynes for Synthesizing Nitrogen-Containing Molecules.Acc Chem Res. 2020 03 17; 53(3):662-675.AC
Alkynes are one of the most abundant chemicals in organic chemistry, and therefore the development of catalytic reactions to transform alkynes into other useful functionalities is of great value. In recent decades, extraordinary advances have been made in this area with transition-metal catalysis, and silver-based reagents are ideal for the activation of alkynes. This high reactivity is probably due to the superior π-Lewis acidic, carbophilic behavior of silver(I), allowing it to selectively activate carbon-carbon triple bonds (C≡C) through the formation of a silver-π complex. Within this field, we have been interested in the activation and subsequent reactions of readily accessible terminal alkynes for the synthesis of nitrogen-containing compounds, which has generally received less attention than methods involving internal alkynes. This is possibly due to the lack of suitable reactive reaction partners that are compatible under transition metals. Therefore, a thorough understanding of the factors that influence homogeneous silver catalysis and the identification of the appropriate reaction partners can provide a powerful platform for designing more efficient silver-catalyzed reactions of terminal alkynes. In this context, we envisioned that using readily available, environmentally benign, and inexpensive trimethylsilyl azide (TMSN3) or an isocyanide as the nitrogen-donor would be the key to develop novel reactions of terminal alkynes.This Account describes our efforts since 2013 toward the development of novel silver-catalyzed tandem reactions of terminal alkynes with either TMSN3 or isocyanides for the assembly of various nitrogen-containing compounds. The first section of this Account discusses the initial developments in the silver-catalyzed hydroazidation of terminal alkynes with TMSN3 and the subsequent advances made in our laboratory. We first describe the discovery and experimental and computational mechanistic investigations of silver-catalyzed hydroazidation reactions, which is the most efficient strategy reported to date for accessing vinyl azides. Mechanistic study of this hydroazidation reaction provides an alternative activation mode for terminal alkyne conversion in transition metal catalysis. We then present the chemistry of in situ generated vinyl azides, including one-pot tandem radical addition/cyclization or migration reactions of terminal alkynes to access a variety of nitrogen-containing molecules. Finally, we discuss the one-pot, multistep tandem hydroazidation and 1,2-azide migratory gem-difluorination of terminal alkynes for the synthesis of β-difluorinated alkyl azides. The second section describes the silver-catalyzed coupling reactions between terminal alkynes and isocyanides, which offer a straightforward method for accessing synthetically useful building blocks, such as pyrroles, allenamides, benzofuran, vinyl sulfones, indazolines, propiolonitriles, and pyrazoles. The high efficiency, mild conditions, low cost, broad substrate scope, high chemo- and regioselectivity, step economy, and ecofriendliness of the developed approaches make them attractive and practical. The progress in this area provides guiding principles for designing new reactions of terminal alkynes that can be extended to various nitrogen-containing molecules of interest to medicinal and materials chemists.