Journal of the American Chemical Society

Addition/oxidative rearrangement of 3-furfurals and 3-furyl imines: new approaches to substituted furans and pyrroles.

PMID 18314989


Furans and pyrroles are important synthons in chemical synthesis and are commonly found in natural products, pharmaceutical agents, and materials. Introduced herein are three methods to prepare 2-substituted 3-furfurals starting from 3-furfural, 3-bromofuran, and 3-vinylfurans. Addition of a variety of organolithium, Grignard, and organozinc reagents (M-R) to 3-furfural provides 3-furyl alcohols in high yields. Treatment of these intermediates with NBS initiates a novel oxidative rearrangement that results in the installation of the R group in the 2 position of the 2-substituted 3-furfurals. Likewise, metalation of 3-bromofuran with n-BuLi and addition to benzaldehyde provides a furyl alcohol that is converted to 2-phenyl 3-furfural upon oxidative rearrangement. Enantioenriched disubstituted furans can be prepared starting with the Sharpless asymmetric dihydroxylation of 3-vinylfurans. The resulting enantioenriched diols undergo the oxidative rearrangement to furnish enantioenriched 2-substituted 3-furfurals with excellent transfer of asymmetry. This later method has been applied to the enantioselective preparation of an intermediate in Honda's synthesis of the natural product (-)-canadensolide. Mechanistic studies involving deuterium-labeled furyl alcohol suggest that the oxidative rearrangement proceeds through an unsaturated 1,4-dialdehyde intermediate. The alcohol then cyclizes onto an aldehyde, resulting in the elimination of water and rearomatization. On the basis of this proposed mechanism, we found that 3-furyl imines undergo the addition of organometallic reagents to provide furyl sulfonamides. Under the oxidative rearrangement conditions, 2-substituted 3-formyl pyrroles are formed, providing a novel route to these heterocycles. In contrast to the metalation of heterocycles, which often lead to mixtures of regioisomeric products, these new oxidative rearrangements of furyl alcohols and furyl sulfonamides generate only one regioisomer in each case.

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3-Bromofuran, 97%