Nickel-catalyzed switchable arylative/endo-cyclization of 1,6-enynes.

Nature communications(2024)

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Carbo- and heterocycles are frequently used as crucial scaffolds in natural products, fine chemicals, and biologically and pharmaceutically active compounds. Transition-metal-catalyzed cyclization of 1,6-enynes has emerged as a powerful strategy for constructing functionalized carbo- and heterocycles. Despite significant progress, the regioselectivity of alkyne functionalization is entirely substrate-dependent. And only exo-cyclization/cross-coupling products can be obtained, while endo-selective cyclization/cross-coupling remains elusive and still poses a formidable challenge. In this study, we disclose a nickel-catalyzed switchable arylation/cyclization of 1,6-enynes in which the nature of the ligand dictates the regioselectivity of alkyne arylation, while the electrophilic trapping reagents determine the selectivity of the cyclization mode. Specifically, using a commercially available 1,10-phenanthroline as a ligand facilitates trans-arylation/cyclization to obtain seven-membered ring products, while a 2-naphthyl-substituted bisbox ligand promotes cis-arylation/cyclization to access six-membered ring products. Diastereoselective cyclizations have also been developed for the synthesis of enantioenriched piperidines and azepanes, which are core structural elements of pharmaceuticals and natural products possessing important biological activities. Furthermore, experimental and density functional theory studies reveal that the regioselectivity of the alkyne arylation process is entirely controlled by the steric hindrance of the ligand; the reaction mechanism involves exo-cyclization followed by Dowd-Beckwith-type ring expansion to form endo-cyclization products.
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