Enantioselective propargylic [1,3]-rearrangements: copper-catalyzed O-to-N migrations toward C–N bond formation
We have identified an enantioselective copper-catalyzed O-to-N formal [1,3]-rearrangement to form N-propargylic-2-pyridones. This enantioconvergent O-to-N propargylic rearrangement occurs rapidly at ambient temperature and high enantioselectivity is observed for a range of 3-alkyl-substituted substrates. Stereochemical features include a mild kinetic enantioenrichment of the substrate and a non-linear relationship between product and ligand enantiopurity. Based on kinetic analyses and cross-over experiments, we put forward a mechanistic proposal involving Cu-acetylides as well as bimetallic intermediates in which coordination to the pyridyl nitrogen is likely a crucial binding interaction.