Transition metal-catalyzed ketone-directed or mediated C–H functionalization
Transition metal-catalyzed C–H functionalization has evolved into a prominent and indispensable tool in organic synthesis. While nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur-based functional groups (FGs) are widely employed as effective directing groups (DGs) to control the site-selectivity of C–H activation, the use of common FGs (e.g. ketone, alcohol and amine) as DGs has been continuously pursued. Ketones are an especially attractive choice of DGs and substrates due to their prevalence in various molecules and versatile reactivity as synthetic intermediates. Over the last two decades, transition metal-catalyzed C–H functionalization that is directed or mediated by ketones has experienced vigorous growth. This review summarizes these advancements into three major categories: use of ketone carbonyls as DGs, direct β-functionalization, and α-alkylation/alkenylation with unactivated olefins and alkynes. Each of these subsections is discussed from the perspective of strategic design and reaction discovery.