The mechanism of the triple aryne–tetrazine reaction cascade: theory and experiment
This article describes an experimental and computational investigation on the possible aryne reactivity modes in the course of the reaction of two highly energetic molecules, an aryne and a 1,2,4,5-tetrazine. Beyond the triple aryne–tetrazine (TAT) reaction, it was observed that combinations of several reactivity modes afford several heterocyclic compounds. Density Functional Theory (DFT) calculations of competition between a second Diels–Alder reaction and the nucleophilic addition pathways indicates the latter to be more favorable. Crossover experiments and computational study of the proton transfer step reveal that the reaction proceeds intermolecularly with the assistance of a water molecule, rather than intramolecularly. The resulting enamine intermediate was found to undergo either a stepwise formal [2 + 2] or [4 + 2] cycloaddition, and their energetic profiles were compared against each other. Isolation of an ene-product and a rearranged product shows the potential competition with oxidation/desaturation. These studies show how multiple arynes react with a highly reactive starting material and provide guidance for future applications of aryne-based multicomponent cascade reactions.