Direct polarity inversion of conjugate acceptors provides a valuable entry to homoenolates. N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) catalyzed reactions, in which β-unsubstituted conjugate acceptors undergo homoenolate formation and C−C bond formation twice, have been developed. Specifically, the all-carbon (5+1) annulations give a range of mono- and bicyclic cyclohexanones (31 examples). In the first family of annulations, β-unsubstituted acrylates tethered to a divinyl ketone undergo cycloisomerization, providing hexahydroindenes and tetralins. In the second, partially untethered substrates undergo an intermolecular (5+1) annulation involving dimerization followed by cycloisomerization. While enantioselectivity was not possible with the former, the latter proved viable, allowing cyclohexanones to be produced with high levels of enantiopurity (most >95:5 e.r.) and exclusive diastereoselectivity (>20:1 d.r.). Derivatizations and mechanistic studies are also reported.
- N-heterocyclic carbenes