Nat Commun 2019 04 16;10(1):1774. Epub 2019 Apr 16.
Key Laboratory of Natural Medicine and Immuno-Engineering of Henan Province, Henan University, 475004, Kaifeng, Henan, China.
Toluene and its derivatives are petroleum-derived raw materials produced from gasoline by catalytic reformation. These abundant chemical feedstocks are commonly used as solvents in organic synthesis. The C(sp)-H functionalization of these unactivated substrates has been widely used to directly introduce benzylic motifs into diverse molecules to furnish important compounds. Despite these advances, progress in asymmetric catalysis remains underdeveloped. Here, we report photoinduced radical-based enantioselective C(sp)-C(sp) coupling reactions of activated ketones with toluene and its derivatives by means of chiral acid catalysis. With a La(OTf)/pybox complex catalyst, a variety of chiral 3-hydroxy-3-benzyl-substituted 2-oxindoles, including many conventionally difficult-to-access variants, are obtained directly from isatins in high yields with good to excellent enantioselectivities. Acenaphthoquinone is also compatible with the use of a chiral phosphoric acid (CPA) catalyst, leading to another series of important enantioenriched tertiary alcohols.