Enantioselective organocatalytic reduction of β-trifluoromethyl nitroalkenes: an efficient strategy for the synthesis of chiral β-trifluoromethyl amines.

Research paper by Elisabetta E Massolo, Maurizio M Benaglia, Manuel M Orlandi, Sergio S Rossi, Giuseppe G Celentano

Indexed on: 13 Jan '15Published on: 13 Jan '15Published in: Chemistry - A European Journal


An efficient organocatalytic stereoselective reduction of β-trifluoromethyl-substituted nitroalkenes, mediated by 3,5-dicarboxylic ester-dihydropyridines (Hantzsch ester type), has been successfully developed. A multifunctional thiourea-based (S)-valine derivative was found to be the catalyst of choice, promoting the reaction in up to 97% ee. The methodology has been applied to a wide variety of substrates, leading to the formation of differently substituted precursors of enantiomerically enriched β-trifluoromethyl amines. The mechanism of the reaction and the mode of action of the metal-free catalytic species were computationally investigated; on the basis of DFT transition-state (TS) analysis, a model of stereoselection was also proposed.