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The Stereodivergent Formation of 2,6-cis and 2,6-trans-Tetrahydropyrans: Experimental and Computational Investigation of the Mechanism of a Thioester Oxy-Michael Cyclization

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JournalChemical Science
DateAccepted/In press - 26 Aug 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 Jan 2017
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)482-490
Early online date30/08/16
Original languageEnglish


The origins of the stereodivergence in the thioester oxy-Michael cyclization for the formation of 4-hydroxy-2,6-cis- or 2,6-trans-substituted tetrahydropyran rings under different conditions was investigated both computationally and experimentally. Synthetic studies showed that the 4-hydroxyl group was essential for stereodivergence. When the 4-hydroxyl group was present, TBAF-mediated conditions gave the 2,6-trans-tetrahydropyran and trifluoroacetic acid-mediated conditions gave the 2,6-cis-tetrahydropyran. This stereodivergence vanished when the hydroxyl group was removed or protected. Computational studies revealed that: (i) the trifluoroacetic acid catalysed formation of 2,6-cis-tetrahydropyrans was mediated by a trifluoroacetate-hydroxonium bridge and proceeded via a chair-like transition state; (ii) the TBAF-mediated formation of 2,6-trans-tetrahydropyrans proceeded via a boat-like transition state, where the 4-hydroxyl group formed a crucial hydrogen bond to the cyclizing alkoxide; (iii) both reactions are under kinetic control. The utility of this stereodivergent approach for the formation of 4-hydroxy-2,6-substituted tetrahydropyran rings has been demonstrated by the total syntheses of the anti-osteoporotic natural products diospongin A and B

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