Metal-free Asymmetric Catalysis

Developed by Professor David MacMillan at Caltech, imidazolidinone-based OrganoCatalysts are designed to serve as general catalysts for a variety of asymmetric transformations. The first highly enantioselective organocatalytic Diels-Alder reaction using (5S)-2,2,3-trimethyl-5-phenylmethyl-4-imidazolidinone monohydrochloride was reported by MacMillan in his pioneering work in 2000 (Scheme 1).1 The activated iminium ion, formed through condensation of the imidazolidinone and an α,β-unsaturated aldehyde, underwent reaction with various dienes to yield [4+2]-cycloadducts in excellent yields and enantioselectivities.

highly enantioselective organocatalytic Diels-Alder reaction using (5S)-2,2,3-trimethyl-5-phenylmethyl-4-imidazolidinone monohydrochloride

Scheme 1

Other organocatalytic transformations such as 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions,2 Friedel-Crafts alkylations,3 α-chlorinations,4 α-fluorinations,5 and intramolecular Michael reactions6 were reported using MacMillan’s Imidazolidinone OrganoCatalysts, all proceeding with high levels of enantioselectivity (Scheme 2).

Scheme 2

Scheme 2

MacMillan found an optimized structure in (2S,5S)-(−)-2-tert-butyl-3-methyl-5-benzyl-4-imidazolidinone for the Friedel-Crafts alkylation of indoles (Scheme 3). 6,7

Scheme 3

Scheme 3

The synthetic utility of this concept was later demonstrated in the total synthesis of (–)-flustramine B, a biologically active pyrroloindoline-containing alkaloid (Scheme 4).

Scheme 4

Scheme 4

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References

1.
Ahrendt KA, Borths CJ, MacMillan DWC. 2000. New Strategies for Organic Catalysis:  The First Highly Enantioselective Organocatalytic Diels?Alder Reaction. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. 122(17):4243-4244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja000092s
2.
Jen WS, Wiener JJM, MacMillan DWC. 2000. New Strategies for Organic Catalysis:  The First Enantioselective Organocatalytic 1,3-Dipolar Cycloaddition. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. 122(40):9874-9875. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja005517p
3.
Paras NA, MacMillan DWC. 2001. New Strategies in Organic Catalysis:  The First Enantioselective Organocatalytic Friedel?Crafts Alkylation. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. 123(18):4370-4371. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja015717g
4.
Paras NA, MacMillan DWC. 2001. New Strategies in Organic Catalysis:  The First Enantioselective Organocatalytic Friedel?Crafts Alkylation. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. 123(18):4370-4371. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja015717g
5.
Beeson TD, MacMillan DWC. 2005. Enantioselective Organocatalytic ?-Fluorination of Aldehydes. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. 127(24):8826-8828. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja051805f
6.
Hechavarria Fonseca MT, List B. 2004. Catalytic Asymmetric Intramolecular Michael Reaction of Aldehydes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. 43(30):3958-3960. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.200460578
7.
Austin JF, MacMillan DWC. 2002. Enantioselective Organocatalytic Indole Alkylations. Design of a New and Highly Effective Chiral Amine for Iminium Catalysis. J. Am. Chem. Soc.. 124(7):1172-1173. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja017255c