Gold-Catalyzed Conversion of Highly Strained Compounds
The past decade has witnessed the golden age of homogeneous gold-catalyzed reactions, especially those that involve the transformation of highly strained molecules into complex molecular architectures. Gold catalysts, with unique electronic properties and catalytic abilities, have elevated versatile reaction modes through π-interaction induced activation. On the basis of increasing research interest in this topic, together with the significant development of various ligands, including phosphine ligands and azacyclic or noncyclic carbene ligands, the understanding of the catalytic function of gold catalysts has become much deeper and more comprehensive. Different reaction needs thus could be adapted by a novel gold catalyst with a diversified ligand selection. Furthermore, the whole evolution of the gold catalysis on synthetic methodologies has realized and expanded its application into natural product synthesis as well as the potentiality of drug discovery, which endows this ancient metal with a magnificent renaissance. The reactivity of strained small ring molecules with high tension has always been an important research topic in organic chemistry. When the highly strained small ring is linked with a π-electron rich moiety or contains a heteroatom, the gold activation of the π-system or coordination with the heteroatom can initiate a cascade reaction, usually followed by ring opening or expansion. These processes can result in the rapid construction of complex and distinct molecular structures, many of which feature in biologically important molecules. In this review, we will mainly summarize the advances on diverse reaction types and molecular constructions accomplished by homogeneous gold catalysis using highly strained substrates, including methylenecyclopropanes (MCPs), vinylidenecyclopropanes (VDCPs), cyclopropenes as well as aziridine- and epoxide-containing molecules, focusing on the last 10 years. For functionalized alkynyl cyclopropanes, several early inspiring and elegant examples will be described in this review for systematically understanding these transformations.
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Australian Research Council