Transition metal-catalyzed reductive C-C bond formation under hydrogenation and transfer hydrogenation conditions
Carbon-carbon bond forming reactions are vital to the synthesis of natural products and pharmaceuticals. In 2003, the 200 best selling prescription drugs reported in Med Ad News are all organic compounds. Synthesizing these compounds involves many carbon-carbon bond forming processes, which are not trivial and typically generate large amounts of waste byproducts. Thus, development of an atom economical and environmentally benign carbon-carbon bond forming methodology is highly desirable. Hydrogenation is one of the most powerful catalytic reactions and has been utilized extensively in industry. Although carbon-carbon bond forming reactions under hydrogenation conditions, such as, alkene hydroformylation and the Fischer-Tropsch reaction are known, they are limited to the coupling of unsaturated hydrocarbons to carbon monoxide. Recently, a breakthrough was made by the Krische group, who demonstrated that catalytic hydrogenative C-C bond forming reactions can be extended to the coupling partners other than carbon monoxide. This discovery has led to the development of a new class of carbon-carbon bond forming reactions. Herein, an overview of transition metal-catalyzed reductive couplings of [pi]-unsaturated systems employing various external reductants is summarized in Chapter 1. Chapters 2-4 describe a series of rhodium- and iridium-catalyzed asymmetric hydrogenative couplings of various alkynes to a wide range of imines and carbonyl compounds. These byproduct-free transformations provide a variety of optically enriched allylic amines and allylic alcohols, which are found in numerous natural products, and are used as versatile precursors for the synthesis of many biologically active compounds. Transfer hydrogenation represents another important class of reactions in organic chemistry. This process employs hydrogen sources other than gaseous dihydrogen, such as isopropanol. The Krische group succeeded in developing a new family of transfer hydrogenative carbon-carbon bond formation reactions. Chapter 5 presents two novel ruthenium- and iridium-catalyzed transfer hydrogenative carbonyl allylation reactions. The catalytic system employing iridium complexes enables highly enantioselective carbonyl allylation from both the alcohol and aldehyde oxidation level. These systems define a departure from the use of preformed organometallic reagents in carbonyl additions that transcends the boundaries of oxidation level.