Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.141, No.23, 9239-9248, 2019
Site-Selective Functionalization of Pyridinium Derivatives via Visible-Light-Driven Photocatalysis with Quinolinone
The selective installation of phosphinoyl and carbamoyl moieties on the pyridine scaffold is an important transformation in synthetic and medicinal chemistry. By employing quinolinone as an efficient organic photocatalyst, we developed a catalytic system driven by visible light that forms phosphinoyl and carbamoyl radicals, which react with various heteroarenium derivatives under mild, transition-metal-free conditions. This straightforward and environmentally friendly synthetic method represents a new approach to site-divergent pyridine functionalization that offers considerable advantages in both simplicity and efficiency. Ambient temperature is sufficient for the formation of the reactive radicals, and the site-selectivity can be switched from C2 to C4 by changing the radical coupling sources. Under standard reaction conditions, phosphinoyl radicals give access to C4 products, while carbamoyl radicals selectively give C2 products. We found that the carbamoyl radical overcomes the intrinsic preference for forming the ortho-product by allowing the oxo functionality of the carbamoyl radical to electrostatically engage the nitrogen of the pyridinium substrate, which preferentially gives the ortho-product. The phosphinoyl radical cannot engage in the same interaction, because the phosphorus is too large. This novel synthetic route tolerates a broad range of substrates and provides a convenient and powerful synthetic tool for accessing the core structures of numerous privileged scaffolds.