A cascade reaction that generates pyrrolo- and pyridoindoline motifs from isocyanide precursors under phase-transfer conditions is described. This transformation proceeds at room temperature in the presence of a quaternary ammonium catalyst and base to generate functionalized products containing an all-carbon quaternary stereocentre. Quantum chemical calculations demonstrated that intramolecular general acid catalysis plays a key accelerating role through stabilization of developing charge in the transition state, and that the reaction is best described as a 5-endo dig cyclization, rather than an anionic 6π electrocyclization. Investigations employing chiral phase-transfer catalysts have given promising selectivities to date.
- cascade reactions
- density functional calculations
- hydrogen bonds
- phase-transfer catalysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas