Organocatalytic enantioselective direct additions of aldehydes to 4-vinylpyridines and electron-deficient vinylarenes and their synthetic applications

Sinan Wang, Xiangmin Li, Hongwei Liu, Li Xu, Jinchen Zhuang, Jian Li, Hao Li, Wei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


We describe a synergistic catalysis strategy for the asymmetric direct addition of simple aldehydes to 4-vinylpyridines. By means of independent activation of weakly electrophilic 4-vinylpyridines by the Brønsted acid CF3SO3H (TfOH) and aldehydes by chiral diphenylprolinol tert-butyldimethylsilyl (TBDMS) ether-catalyzed formation of nucleophilic enamines in a cooperative manner, the previously unattainable highly enantioselective addition process has been realized for the first time. Notably, the power of the addition process is fueled by its high efficiency in the production of synthetically valued chiral pyridines. 1H NMR studies of the process suggested that the nucleophilic enamine formed in situ from the chiral amine catalyst and the aldehyde is directly added to the trimeric 4-vinylpyridinium-derived species as a highly active electrophile generated from the 4-vinylpyridine in the presence of TfOH. Moreover, inspired by the similar electronic natures of pyridine and nitrobenzene, we have achieved an unprecedented chiral diphenylprolinol TBDMS ether-promoted, highly enantioselective direct addition of aldehydes to 2-nitrostyrenes without the use of TfOH as a cocatalyst. In this approach, introducing a strong electron-withdrawing group such as NO2, CF3, SO2Me, etc. on the 2-nitrostyrene creates a highly electrophilic vinyl moiety, which enables the direct addition of the in situ-formed enamine derived from the chiral amine promoter and the aldehyde. This method significantly expands the scope of the enantioselective addition process. While the electron-withdrawing nitro group is essential for activation of the vinyl group, we have demonstrated that it can be readily transformed to diverse functionalities. Furthermore, as shown, a chiral pyridine adduct serves as a key building block in the synthesis of the potent fibrinogen receptor antagonist L-734,217.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2303-2310
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 18 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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