Transition metal- and organo-catalyzed cycloreductions, cycloadditions and cycloisomerizations
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The catalytic activation of enones in C-C bond forming processes represents a promising alternative to the prefabrication of chemically labile enols and enolates. Through the use of a (diketonato)cobalt/silane catalyst system, we have devised highly diastereoselective aldol and Michael cycloreductions (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2001, 123, 5112). Modulation of the catalyst system has enabled the first intramolecular metal-catalyzed alkene (2+2)cycloaddition (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2001, 123, 6716). Finally, the concept of catalytic nucleophilic enone activation embodied by the Morita-Baylis- Hillman and Rauhut Currier reactions has been utilized to develop an organic catalyst system for the cycloisomerization of bis-enones, i.e. an intramolecular Rauhut Currier reaction (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2002, 124, 2402). Notably, this protocol allowed for the selective "crossed" cyclization of unsymmetrical bis-enone substrates.