Mini-ISES identifies promising carbafructopyranose-based salens for asymmetric catalysis: Tuning ligand shape via the anomeric effect

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Science Advances  10 Jul 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 6, e1500066
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500066


This study introduces new methods of screening for and tuning chiral space and in so doing identifies a promising set of chiral ligands for asymmetric synthesis. The carbafructopyranosyl-1,2-diamine(s) and salens constructed therefrom are particularly compelling. It is shown that by removing the native anomeric effect in this ligand family, one can tune chiral ligand shape and improve chiral bias. This concept is demonstrated by a combination of (i) x-ray crystallographic structure determination, (ii) assessment of catalytic performance, and (iii) consideration of the anomeric effect and its underlying dipolar basis. The title ligands were identified by a new mini version of the in situ enzymatic screening (ISES) procedure through which catalyst-ligand combinations are screened in parallel, and information on relative rate and enantioselectivity is obtained in real time, without the need to quench reactions or draw aliquots. Mini-ISES brings the technique into the nanomole regime (200 to 350 nmol catalyst/20 μl organic volume) commensurate with emerging trends in reaction development/process chemistry. The best-performing β-d-carbafructopyranosyl-1,2-diamine–derived salen ligand discovered here outperforms the best known organometallic and enzymatic catalysts for the hydrolytic kinetic resolution of 3-phenylpropylene oxide, one of several substrates examined for which the ligand is “matched.” This ligand scaffold defines a new swath of chiral space, and anomeric effect tunability defines a new concept in shaping that chiral space. Both this ligand set and the anomeric shape-tuning concept are expected to find broad application, given the value of chiral 1,2-diamines and salens constructed from these in asymmetric catalysis.

  • asymmetric catalysis
  • ligand design
  • catalyst screening
  • in situ enzymatic screening
  • anomeric effect
  • combinatorial catalysis
  • salen ligand
  • shape tunability
  • carbafructopyranose
  • hydrolytic kinetic resolution

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