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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Intramolecular gamma-hydroxylations of nonactivated C-H bonds with copper complexes and molecular oxygen.

Copper(I) complexes incorporating the isomeric bidentate ligands IMPY (iminomethyl-2-pyridines) or AMPY (aminomethylene-2-pyridines) are quite unusual in their ability to bind and activate molecular oxygen. Using these complexes, hydroxylations of nonactivated CH, CH2, or CH3 groups in the gamma-position in relation to the imino-nitrogen atom, and with a specific orientation of one H atom with respect to the binuclear Cu-O species, can be achieved in synthetically useful yields. Through mechanistic studies employing conformationally well-defined molecules (for example, cyclic isoprenoids), coupled with solid-state X-ray structure analyses and force-field calculations, we postulate a seven-membered transition state for this reaction in which six atoms lie approximately in a plane. This plane is defined by the positions of the lone pairs on the nitrogen atoms, as well as the copper and the oxygen atoms. For a successful hydroxylation, one hydrogen atom should be located close to this plane. Prediction of the stereochemical course of these reactions is possible based on a simple geometrical criterion. The convenient introduction of IMPY and AMPY groups as auxiliaries into oxo and primary amino compounds and the simple hydrolysis after the hydroxylation procedure has allowed the synthesis of 3-hydroxy-1-oxo and 3-hydroxy-1-amino compounds. If desired, the 3-hydroxy-1-IMPY and -1-AMPY compounds can be reduced with NaBH4 to obtain 3-hydroxy-1-aminomethylpyridines. For a successful hydroxylation procedure, the method employed for the synthesis of the CuI complexes is very important. Starting either from CuI salts or from CuII salts with a subsequent reduction with benzoin/triethylamine may turn out to be the better way, depending on the ligand and the molecular structure.[1]


  1. Intramolecular gamma-hydroxylations of nonactivated C-H bonds with copper complexes and molecular oxygen. Schönecker, B., Zheldakova, T., Lange, C., Günther, W., Görls, H., Bohl, M. Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany) (2004) [Pubmed]
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