Cycloaddition reactions compose one of the most important classes of reactions when it comes to the simultaneous formation of several bonds in one reaction step. The de novo construction of carbocyclic aromatic systems from acetylenes was also found as an excellent possibility for the assembly of heteroaromatic systems. The transition metal-catalysed [2 + 2 + 2] cycloaddition reaction constitutes a fascinating tool for the synthesis of pyridines from nitriles and the most recent developments demonstrate the ability to control the substitution pattern as well as the possibility of introducing chirality by the use of achiral substrates and a chiral catalyst under mild conditions.
In this tutorial review we are focusing on the de novo construction of pyridine ring systems by the transition metal-catalysed [2 + 2 + 2] cycloaddition reaction. After surveying the mechanistic features and intermediates of the reaction depending on the different metal complexes used, we depict the preparation of achiral pyridine derivatives. The last section describes the advances in the synthesis of chiral pyridines and biaryls using the cyclotrimerisation method. The various possibilities of introducing chirality by catalytic means are presented and illustrated by instructive examples.
This review will be of interest for people active in: Organic Chemistry, Organometallic Chemistry, Transition Metal Chemistry, Stereoselective Synthesis, Heterocyclic Chemistry