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Pure Appl. Chem., 2008, Vol. 80, No. 5, pp. 953-966

Asymmetric synthesis: From transition metals to organocatalysis

Pavel Kočovský and Andrei V. Malkov

Department of Chemistry, WestChem, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK

Abstract: Umpolung in the allylation reaction is discussed with examples drawn from transition-metal-catalyzed allylic substitution (with the allylic unit acting as an electrophile) and Lewis base-catalyzed allylation of aldehydes with allyltrichlorosilane (with the allyl acting as a nucleophile). Iridium-catalyzed electrophilic allylation of O-nucleophiles has been employed in our new approach to C-nucleoside analogs, where the C-O bond (rather than C-C) was constructed stereospecifically. Variation of the absolute configuration in the starting segments allowed the synthesis of all four combinations of D/L-α/β-ribosides. In the nucleophilic allylation of aldehydes, chiral pyridine-type N-oxide catalysts are presented, in particular QUINOX and METHOX, and the intriguing behavior of QUINOX is discussed. Here, the π-π interactions between the substrate aldehyde and the catalyst are suggested to rationalize the experimental observations. Good correlation between the calculated energies for the transition states and the experimentally observed enantioselectivities has been obtained.