Enhancing the selectivity of prolinamide organocatalysts using the mechanical bond in rotaxanes†
The synthesis of a pair of switchable interlocked prolinamides and their use as organocatalysts in three different enamine-activated processes are reported. A diacylaminopyridine moiety was incorporated into the thread for directing rotaxane formation further allowing the association of complementary small molecules. The rotaxane-based systems were tested as organocatalysts in asymmetric enamine-mediated processes, revealing a significantly improved catalytic ability if compared with the non-interlocked thread. The presence of an electron-withdrawing nitro group at the macrocycle helps to achieve high conversions and enantioselectivities. These systems are able to interact with N-hexylthymine as a cofactor to form supramolecular catalysts displaying a divergent catalytic behaviour. The presence or absence of the cofactor controls the chemoselectivity in competitive reactions.
- This article is part of the themed collections: 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry – Asymmetric Organocatalysis and 2020 Chemical Science HOT Article Collection