(Chemical Equation Presented) Reactions of substituted acetone derivatives with acrylic acid esters (>200 mol %) in the presence of t-BuOK (200 mol %) in t-BuOH-THF (1:1 by volume) turned out to proceed as a cascade process consisting of the first Michael addition, the second Michael addition, and the last Claisen reaction to afford 4,4-disubstituted cyclohexane-1,3-diones. Only more substituted enolates play the role of a Michael donor in this cascade process, and therefore the ketone took up two alkoxycarbonylethyl groups on the same carbon bearing more substituents. Such intermediates were followed by intramolecular Claisen reactions leading to cyclohexane-1,3-diones bearing quaternary stereogenic centers at C(4), which bears an alkoxycarbonylethyl group and the substituent of the starting acetone derivatives. Thus-obtained 4,4-disubstituted cyclohexane-1,3-diones were successfully employed for total syntheses of intricate alkaloids of biological interest such as (+)-aspidospermidine, (±)-galanthamine, (±)-lycoramine, and (±)-mesembrine, all featuring quaternary stereogenic centers. DFT calculations provided us with clear-cut explanations for the observed chemoselectivity of the cascade process involving ketone-based enolates under thermodynamically controlled conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Organic Chemistry