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Nat Commun. 2015 Jan 14;6:5801. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6801.

Bond cleavage, fragment modification and reassembly in enantioselective three-component reactions.

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Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Molecular Therapeutics and New Drug Development, and Department of Chemistry, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China.


Chemical bond cleavage and reconstruction are common processes in traditional rearrangement reactions. In contrast, the process that involves bond cleavage, fragment modification and then reconstruction of the modified fragment provides an efficient way to build structurally diversified molecules. Here, we report a palladium(II)/chiral phosphoric acid catalysed three-component reaction of aryldiazoacetates, enamines and imines to afford α-amino-δ-oxo pentanoic acid derivatives in good yields with excellent diastereoselectivities and high enantioselectivities. The stereoselective reaction went through a unique process that involves cleavage of a C-N bond, modification of the resulting amino fragment and selective reassembly of the modified fragment. This innovative multi-component process represents a highly efficient way to build structurally diversified polyfunctional molecules in an atom and step economic fashion. A keto-iminium is proposed as a key intermediate and a chiral palladium/phosphate complex is proposed as an active catalyst.

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