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Sci Adv. 2018 Jul 20;4(7):eaat6031. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aat6031. eCollection 2018 Jul.

Radical chain repair: The hydroalkylation of polysubstituted unactivated alkenes.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bern, Freiestrasse 3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.


The concept of repair is widely used by nature to heal molecules such as proteins, lipids, sugars, and DNA that are damaged by hydrogen atom abstraction resulting from oxidative stress. We show that this strategy, rather undocumented in the field of synthetic organic chemistry, can be used in a radical chain reaction to enable notoriously intractable transformations. By overcoming the radical chain inhibitor properties of substituted alkenes, the radical-mediated hydroalkylation of mono-, di-, tri-, and even tetrasubstituted unactivated olefins could be performed under mild conditions. With a remarkable functional group tolerance, this reaction provides a general coupling method for the derivatization of olefin-containing natural products.

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