18. Enantioselective Synthesis of Pyrroloindolines via Noncovalent Stabilization of Indole Radical Cations and Applications to the Synthesis of Alkaloid Natural Products

Emily C. Gentry, Lydia J. Rono, Martina E. Hale, Rei Matsuura, Robert R. Knowles:


ABSTRACT: While interest in the synthetic chemistry of radical cations continues to grow, controlling enantioselectivity in the reactions of these intermediates remains a challenge. Based on recent insights into the oxidation of tryptophan in enzymatic systems, we report a photocatalytic method for the generation of indole radical cations as hydrogen-bonded adducts with chiral phosphate anions. These noncovalent open-shell complexes can be intercepted by the stable nitroxyl radical TEMPO· to form alkoxyamine-substituted pyrroloindolines with high levels of enantioselectivity. Further elaboration of these optically enriched adducts can be achieved via a catalytic single-electron oxidation/mesolytic cleavage sequence to furnish transient carbocation intermediates that may be intercepted by a wide range of nucleophiles. Taken together, this two-step sequence provides a simple catalytic method to access a wide range of substituted pyrroloindolines in enantioenriched form via a standard experimental protocol from a common synthetic intermediate. The design, development, mechanistic study, and scope of this process are presented, as are applications of this method to the synthesis of several dimeric pyrroloindoline natural products.