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Enantioselective Synthesis of Biscyclopropanes Using Alkynes as Dicarbene Equivalents

Chiral biscyclopropanes are an important skeleton in many bioactive molecules. However, there are few routes to synthesize these molecules with high stereoselectivity due to the nature of multiple stereocenters. Herein, we report the first example of Rh2(II)-catalyzed enantioselective synthesis of bicyclopropanes with alkynes as dicarbene equivalents. The bicyclopropanes with 4-5 vicinal stereocenters and 2-3 all-carbon quaternary centers were constructed in excellent stereoselectivity. This protocol features high efficiency and excellent functional group tolerance. Moreover, the protocol was also extended to the cascaded cyclopropanation/cyclopropenation with excellent stereoselectivities. In these processes, both sp-carbons of alkyne were converted into stereogenic sp3-carbons. Experimental and density functional theory (DFT) calculations revealed that the cooperative weak hydrogen bonds between the substrates and the dirhodium catalyst may play key roles in this reaction.

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