5 years ago

Photocatalytic E → Z Isomerization of Polarized Alkenes Inspired by the Visual Cycle: Mechanistic Dichotomy and Origin of Selectivity

Photocatalytic E → Z Isomerization of Polarized Alkenes Inspired by the Visual Cycle: Mechanistic Dichotomy and Origin of Selectivity
Jan B. Metternich, Maximilian von Bremen-Kühne, Mareike C. Holland, Johannes Neugebauer, Ryan Gilmour, Denis G. Artiukhin
Iteratively executed with exquisite spatial and temporal control, the selective isomerization of polarized alkenes underpins a plethora of complex biological processes ranging from natural product biosynthesis through to the mammalian visual cycle. However, nature’s proficiency conceals the inherent difficulties in replicating this contra-thermodynamic transformation in the laboratory. Recently, we disclosed the first highly Z-selective isomerization of polarized alkenes, employing the cinnamoyl chromophore as a retinal surrogate under UV-irradiation (402 nm) with (−)-riboflavin (vitamin B2) as an inexpensive, organic photocatalyst (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2015, 137, 11254–11257). This study was inspired by the propensity of crystalline (−)-riboflavin in the eyes of vertebrates to invert the intrinsic directionality of retinal isomerization. Herein, we extend this methodology to include a bioinspired, catalytic EZ isomerization of α,β-unsaturated nitriles, thereby mimicking the intermediate Opsin-derived, protonated Schiff base in the visual cycle with simple polarized alkenes. Replacement of the iminium motif by a cyano group is well tolerated and gives an additional degree of versatility for postisomerization functionalization. Broad substrate scope is demonstrated (up to 99:1 Z:E) together with evidence of mechanistic dichotomy via both singlet and triplet energy transfer mechanisms. Kinetic studies, temperature dependent photostationary state correlations and investigation of substituent-based electronic perturbation of the alkene identified polarization combined with increased Z-isomer activation barriers as the selectivity governing factors in catalysis. This investigation demonstrates the importance of internal structural preorganization on photostationary composition and explicates the augmented Z-selectivity upon hydrogen-alkyl exchange at the β-position of the alkene.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.joc.7b01281

DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.7b01281

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