Institute of Crystallography - CNR

Dynamic Phenomena and Complexation Effects in the alpha-Lithiation and Asymmetric Functionalization of Azetidines

In this work it is demonstrated that enantiomerically enriched N-alkyl 2-oxazolinylazetidines undergo exclusive alpha-lithiation, and that the resulting lithiated intermediate is chemically stable but configurationally labile under the given experimental conditions that afford enantioenriched N-alkyl-2,2-disubstituted azetidines. Although this study reveals the configurational instability of the diastereomeric lithiated azetidines, it points out an interesting stereoconvergence of such lithiated intermediates towards the thermodynamically stable species, making the overall process highly stereoselective (er > 95:5, dr > 85:15) after trapping with electrophiles. This peculiar behavior has been rationalized by considering the dynamics at the azetidine nitrogen atom, the inversion at the C-Li center supported by in situ FT-IR experiments, and DFT calculations that suggested the presence of eta(3)-coordinated species for diastereomeric lithiated azetidines. The described situation contrasted with the demonstrated stability of the smaller lithiated aziridine analogue. The capability of oxazolinylazetidines to undergo different reaction patterns with organolithium bases supports the model termed “dynamic control of reactivity” of relevance in organolithium chemistry. It has been demonstrated that only 2,2-substituted oxazolinylazetidines with suitable stereochemical requirements could undergo C=N addition of organolithiums in non-coordinating solvents, leading to useful precursors of chiral (er > 95:5) ketoazetidines.

Molecules (Basel, Online)
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Musci, Pantaleo and Colella, Marco and Altomare, Angela and Romanazzi, Giuseppe and Sheikh, Nadeem S. and Degennaro, Leonardo and Luisi, Renzo
Authors IC CNR