α-Haloaldehydes: versatile building blocks for natural product synthesis
Covering: up to July 2012
The diastereoselective addition of organometallic reagents to α-chloroaldehydes was first reported in 1959 and occupies a historically significant role as the prototypical reaction for Cornforth's model of stereoinduction. Despite clear synthetic potential for these reagents, difficulties associated with producing enantiomerically enriched α-haloaldehydes limited their use in natural product synthesis through the latter half of the 20th century. In recent years, however, a variety of robust, organocatalytic processes have been reported that now provide direct access to optically enriched α-haloaldehydes and have motivated renewed interest in their use as building blocks for natural product synthesis. This Highlight summarizes the methods available for the enantioselective preparation of α-haloaldehydes and their stereoselective conversion into natural products.