Highly efficient molybdenum-based catalysts for enantioselective alkene metathesis
Steven J. Malcolmson1,3, Simon J. Meek1,3, Elizabeth S. Sattely1, Richard R. Schrock2, & Amir H. Hoveyda1
1. Department of Chemistry, Merkert Chemistry Center, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467, USA; 2. Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA; 3. These authors contributed equally to this work.
Correspondence to: Amir H. Hoveyda1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to A.H.H. (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Discovery of efficient catalysts is one of the most compelling objectives of modern chemistry. Chiral catalysts are in particularly high demand, as they facilitate synthesis of enantiomerically enriched small molecules that are critical to developments in medicine, biology and materials science1. Especially noteworthy are catalysts that promote—with otherwise inaccessible efficiency and selectivity levels—reactions demonstrated to be of great utility in chemical synthesis. Here we report a class of chiral catalysts that initiate alkene metathesis 1 with very high efficiency and enantioselectivity. Such attributes arise from structural fluxionality of the chiral catalysts and the central role that enhanced electronic factors have in the catalytic cycle. The new catalysts have a stereogenic metal centre and carry only monodentate ligands; the molybdenum-based complexes are prepared stereoselectively by a ligand exchange process involving an enantiomerically pure aryloxide, a class of ligands scarcely used in enantioselective catalysis2, 3. We demonstrate the application of the new catalysts in an enantioselective synthesis of the Aspidosperma alkaloid, quebrachamine, through an alkene metathesis reaction that cannot be promoted by any of the previously reported chiral catalysts. Click here to read full text.