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ACS Cent Sci. 2015 Oct 28;1(7):394-9. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.5b00312. Epub 2015 Oct 16.

Remote Meta-C-H Activation Using a Pyridine-Based Template: Achieving Site-Selectivity via the Recognition of Distance and Geometry.

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Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute , 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, United States.
Department of Process Chemistry and Department of Discovery Chemistry, Merck & Co. Inc. , 126 East Lincoln Avenue, Rahway, New Jersey 07065, United States.


The pyridyl group has been extensively employed to direct transition-metal-catalyzed C-H activation reactions in the past half-century. The typical cyclic transition states involved in these cyclometalation processes have only enabled the activation of ortho-C-H bonds. Here, we report that pyridine is adapted to direct meta-C-H activation of benzyl and phenyl ethyl alcohols through engineering the distance and geometry of a directing template. This template takes advantage of a stronger σ-coordinating pyridine to recruit Pd catalysts to the desired site for functionalization. The U-shaped structure accommodates the otherwise highly strained cyclophane-like transition state. This development illustrates the potential of achieving site selectivity in C-H activation via the recognition of distal and geometric relationship between existing functional groups and multiple C-H bonds in organic molecules.

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