Carbocycle Construction by the Opening of Strained Rings:
Synthesis of Tremulenolide A
Strained three- and four-membered rings can be used to construct larger
rings. The release of the strain energy facilitates bond formation, and the
stereochemistry of the small ring can be transmitted to the larger ring.
The first step in this approach is the stereocontrolled construction of the
smaller ring. Significant progress in asymmetric cyclopropanation has been
reported this year. André B. Charette of the Université de Montreal has found (J.
Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 12440.
Binol-derived phosphoric acids directed the Simmons-Smith cyclopropanation of
allylic ethers such as 1 with high ee. Allylic ethers react more rapidly
than do isolated alkenes. Other alkyl and silyl ethers work well also. Patrick
J. Walsh of the University of Pennsylvania has reported (J. Am. Chem. Soc.
2005, 127, 13138.
complementary approach that is equally effective for the high ee construction of
cyclopropanes derived from allylic alcohols.
Preformed diazo carbonyl compounds such as 4 are common precursors to
cyclopropanes. Andreas Pfaltz of the University of Basel has described (Angew.
Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 4888.
family of enantiomerically-pure Cu catalysts that effect alkene insertion. It is
particularly noteworthy that these catalysts are effective even with simple
alkyl-substituted alkenes such as 5.
Carbenes can also be generated directly from activated methylene compounds
such as 7. Professor Charette (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005,
has been able to combine this approach with chiral Cu catalysis,
leading to the cyclopropane amino acid precursor 9 in high de and ee.
Release of ring strain from small rings can drive the formation of larger
rings. Masahiro Murakami of Kyoto University has shown (J. Am. Chem. Soc.
2005, 127, 6932.
inexpensive Ni catalysts mediate the addition of an alkyne such as 10 to
a cyclobutanone such as 11 to give, with substantial regiocontrol, the
cyclohexenone 12. Michael E. Jung of UCLA has described (J. Am. Chem.
Soc. 2005, 127, 11206.
alternative strategy for expanding readily-prepared cyclobutanols to
Cyclopropenes such as 13 are readily available in
enantiomerically-pure form. Joseph M. Fox of the University of Delaware has
shown (Org. Lett. 2005, 7, 3593.
unlike ordinary alkenes, these strained alkenes participate smoothly in
Pauson-Khand cycloaddition, and that the additions proceed with very high regio-
and diastereocontrol. The resulting cyclopropanes are readily carried on to
substituted cyclopentanones such as 16.
The utility of strained rings in target-directed synthesis is illustrated by
the construction of tremulenolide A (22) recently reported (Org. Lett.
2005, 7, 4535.
Stephen F. Martin of the University of Texas. Cyclization of the prochiral diazo
ester 17 with the Doyle MEPY catalyst delivered the cyclopropane 18
in high ee, as an inconsequential mixture of diastereomers. Pd-mediated coupling
to 19 gave 20 with high geometric control. Rh-catalyzed opening,
following the Wender precedent, gave 21, with the relative and absolute
configuration derived from the cyclopropane of 20. The diester 21
was then carried on to 22.