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Controlling Chemoselectivity in Vinyl and Allylic C−X Bond Activation with Palladium Catalysis:  A pKa-Based Electronic Switch

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journal contribution
posted on 2002-01-18, 00:00 authored by Michael G. Organ, Elena A. Arvanitis, Craig E. Dixon, Jeremy T. Cooper
It has been demonstrated that the same Pd catalyst can be used to effect allylic substitution or vinylic cross-coupling reactions selectively and interchangeably on polyfunctionalized olefin building blocks despite the differences in reaction mechanism. This was achieved by altering the pKa of the conjugate acid of the allylic leaving group while keeping the vinyl coupling partner constant. In the case of 2,3-dibromo-1-propene, Pd-catalyzed allylic ionization with malonate nucleophile proceeded selectively and quantitatively in the presence of the Suzuki reaction components necessary for cross-coupling. Conversely, the bromide of 2-bromo-1-(4-ethylphenoxy)-2-propene could be cross-coupled selectively without activation of the allylic phenoxy substituent. In both reactions, the same catalyst could then be used to complete the sequence, which typically involved heating as the trigger to promote the second, more reluctant reaction. Mechanistic considerations as well as synthetic applications demonstrating the value of this interchangeable catalyzed sequence are presented.