Cyclopropenimine 1 is shown to catalyze Mannich reactions between glycine imines and N-Boc-aldimines with high levels of enantio- and diastereocontrol. The reactivity of 1 is shown to be substantially greater than that of a widely used thiourea cinchona alkaloid-derived catalyst. A variety of aryl and aliphatic N-Boc-aldimines are effective substrates for this transformation. A preparative-scale reaction to deliver >90 mmol of product is shown using 1 mol % catalyst. The products of this transformation can be converted into several useful derivatives.
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