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J Am Chem Soc. 2016 Jan 13;138(1):416-25. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b11476. Epub 2015 Dec 24.

Activation of Chiral (Salen)AlCl Complex by Phosphorane for Highly Enantioselective Cyanosilylation of Ketones and Enones.

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Shanghai Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry and Chemical Processes, School of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, East China Normal University , Shanghai 200062, P. R. China.
College of Chemistry, Sichuan University , Chengdu 610064, P. R. China.
State Key Laboratory of Organometallic Chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences , Shanghai 200032, P. R. China.


Phosphoranes 2 are identified as a class of effective Lewis bases to activate chiral (salen)AlCl complex 1 to enhance its electrophilicity. Accordingly, a three-component catalyst system consisting of complex 1, phosphorane 2e, and Ph3PO is developed as a powerful tool for asymmetric ketone cyanosilylation. In particular, an unprecedented highly enantioselective cyanosilylation of linear aliphatic ketones is achieved. A tandem Wittig-cyanosilylation sequence starting from phosphorane 2a and enals 10 is further achieved, which internally utilizes the Ph3PO byproduct and remaining phosphorane 2a as cocatalysts for cyanosilylation of α,β,γ,δ-unsaturated enones, providing atom-efficient access to valuable chiral conjugated dienes and enynes. The high efficiency of the cyanosilylation originates from orthogonal activation of both (salen)AlCl complex 1 and cyanotrimethylsilane by the phosphorane and Ph3PO, respectively. This mechanistic insight is supported by NMR, MS, and ReactIR analyses and DFT calculations. Furthermore, the formation of charged complexes through the activation of chiral complex 1 by phosphorane 2a is confirmed by electrical conductivity experiments.


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