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Title: Ruthenium-catalyzed alkylation of indoles with tertiary amines by oxidation of a sp(3) c-h bond and lewis acid catalysis
Authors: Wang, MZ
Zhou, CY
Wong, MK 
Che, CM
Keywords: Alkylation
Lewis acids
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Wiley-VCH
Source: Chemistry - a European journal, 2010, v. 16, no. 19, p. 5723-5735 How to cite?
Journal: Chemistry - a European journal 
Abstract: Ruthenium porphyrins (particularly [Ru(2,6-Cl(2)tpp)CO]: tpp=tetraphenylporphinato) and RuCl3 can act as oxidation and/or Lewis acid catalysts for direct C-3 alkylation of indoles, giving the desired products in high yields (up to 82% based on 60-95% substrate conversions). These ruthenium compounds catalyze oxidative coupling reactions of a wide variety of anilines and indoles bearing electron-withdrawing or electron-donating substituents with high regioselectivity when using tBuOOH as an oxidant, resulting in the alkylation of N-arylindoles to 3-{[(N-aryl-N-alkyl)amino]methyl}indoles (yield: up to 82%, conversion: up to 95%) and the alkylation of N-alkyl or N-H indoles to 3-[p-(dialkylamino)benzyl]indoles (yield: up to 73%, conversion: up to 92%). A tentative reaction mechanism involving two pathways is proposed: an iminium ion intermediate may be generated by oxidation of an sp(3) C-H bond of the alkylated aniline by an oxoruthenium species: this iminium ion could then either be trapped by an N-arylindole (pathway A) or converted to formaldehyde, allowing a subsequent three-component coupling reaction of the in situ generated formaldehyde with an N-alkylindole and an aniline in the presence of a Lewis acid catalyst (pathway 13). The results of deuterium-labeling experiments are consistent with the alkylation of N-alkylindoles via pathway B. The relative reaction rates of [Ru(2,6-Cl(2)tpp)CO]-catalyzed oxidative coupling reactions of 4-X-substituted N,N-dimethylanilines with N-phenylindole (using tBuOOH as oxidant), determined through competition experiments, correlate linearly with the substituent constants sigma (R-2 = 0.989), giving a rho value of -1.09. This rho value and the magnitudes of the intra- and intermolecular deuterium isotope effects (k(H)/k(D)) suggest that electron transfer most likely occurs during the initial stage of the oxidation of 4-X-substituted N,N-dimethylanilines. Ruthenium-catalyzed three-component reaction of N-alkyl/N-H indoles, paraformaldehyde, and anilines gave 3-[p-(dialkylamino)benzyl]indoles in up to 82% yield (conversion: up to 95%).
ISSN: 0947-6539
EISSN: 1521-3765
DOI: 10.1002/chem.200902387
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