The NHC-catalyzed reactions of ortho electron-deficient vinyl substituted arylaldehydes with nitrosoarenes were studied. The reactions produced multifunctional 2,3-benzoxazin-4-ones in good to excellent yields via a cascade aza-benzoin reaction between aldehyde and nitroso groups followed by an intramolecular oxo-Michael addition. The resulting 1-acetate substituted 2,3-benzoxazinones were transformed into a new type of β-hydroxycarboxylate derivatives or 3-oxo-1-isobenzofuranacetates, respectively, under different reductive conditions. This work not only provides a simple and efficient method for the construction of multifunctional 2,3-benzoxazin-4-ones of potential pharmacological interest, but also expands the application of NHC-catalyzed cascade reactions in the formation of carbon–heteroatom and heteroatom–heteroatom bonds.
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