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Deoxydehydration of polyols catalyzed by a molybdenum dioxo-complex supported by a dianionic ONO pincer ligandDeoxydehydration (DODH) is the net reduction of diols and polyols to alkenes or dienes and water. Molybdenum cis -dioxo bis-phenolate ONO complexes were synthesized and have been shown to be active for DODH. Catalysts were screened for activity at 150–190 °C, and appreciable yields of up to 59% were obtained. PPh 3 , Na 2 SO 3 , Zn, C, 3-octanol and 2-propanol were screened as reductants. Additionally, the reactivities of a variety of diols were screened. With ( R , R )-(+)-hydrobenzoin as substrate, DODH occurs via a mechanism where reduction of the Mo catalyst is a result of diol oxidation to form two equivalents of aldehyde. These reactions result in complete conversion and near quantitative yields of trans-stilbene and benzaldehyde.
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Despite their desirable attributes, boronic acids have had a minimal impact in biological contexts. A significant problem has been their oxidative instability. At physiological pH, phenylboronic acid and its boronate esters are oxidized by reactive oxygen species at rates comparable to those of thiols. After considering the mechanism and kinetics of the oxidation reaction, we reasoned that diminishing electron density on boron could enhance oxidative stability. We found that a boralactone, in which a carboxyl group serves as an intramolecular ligand for the boron, increases stability by 104-fold. Computational analyses revealed that the resistance to oxidation arises from diminished stabilization of the p orbital of boron that develops in the rate-limiting transition state of the oxidation reaction. Like simple boronic acids and boronate esters, a boralactone binds covalently and reversibly to 1,2-diols such as those in saccharides. The kinetic stability of its complexes is, however, at least 20-fold greater. A boralactone also binds covalently to a serine side chain in a protein. These attributes confer unprecedented utility upon boralactones in the realms of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry.
The transesterification rate of boronate esters with diols is tunable over 14 orders of magnitude. Rate acceleration is achieved by internal base catalysis, which lowers the barrier for proton transfer. Here we report a photoswitchable internal catalyst that tunes the rate of boronic ester/diol exchange over 4 orders of magnitude. We employed an acylhydrazone molecular photoswitch, which forms a thermally stable but photoreversible intramolecular H-bond, to gate the activity of the internal base catalyst in 8-quinoline boronic ester. The photoswitch is bidirectional and can be cycled repeatedly. The intramolecular H-bond is found to be essential to the design of this photoswitchable internal catalyst, as protonating the quinoline with external sources of acid has little effect on the exchange rate.
Radical cations generated from the oxidation of CC π-bonds are synthetically useful reactive intermediates for C–C and C–X bond formation. Radical cation formation, induced by sub-stoichiometric amounts of external oxidant, are important intermediates in the Woodward–Hoffmann thermally disallowed [2 + 2] cycloaddition of electron-rich alkenes. Using density functional theory (DFT), we report the detailed mechanisms underlying the intermolecular heterodimerisation of anethole and β-methylstyrene to give unsymmetrical, tetra-substituted cyclobutanes. Reactions between trans -alkenes favour the all-trans adduct, resulting from a kinetic preference for anti -addition reinforced by reversibility at ambient temperatures since this is also the thermodynamic product; on the other hand, reactions between a trans -alkene and a cis -alkene favour syn -addition, while exocyclic rotation in the acyclic radical cation intermediate is also possible since C–C forming barriers are higher. Computations are consistent with the experimental observation that hexafluoroisopropanol ( HFIP ) is a better solvent than acetonitrile, in part due to its ability to stabilise the reduced form of the hypervalent iodine initiator by hydrogen bonding, but also through the stabilisation of radical cationic intermediates along the reaction coordinate.