During the last two funding cycles our research program has made significant progress in the development of asymmetric base catalysis, as well as acid-base and iminium-base bifunctional catalysis by organic catalysts as broadly applicable concepts for the development of asymmetric reactions. In our previous studies the catalysts afford activity, enantioselectivity and diastereoselectivity through their involvement in a single transition state of stereochemical consequences. Our proposed studies focus on the invention and development of new reaction cascades. Building on preliminary results revealing the ability of cinchona alkaloids to serve as efficient chiral proton donors, the development of asymmetric dual-functional cooperative organocatalysis becomes a common theme underlying our proposed studies. In this mode of catalysis the organic catalysts act as a bifunctional catalyst to promote two different individual steps in the reaction cascades by activating and orienting the two participating reactants or intermediates.
The specific aims are: 1) Development of enantioselective and diastereoselective conjugate addition-protonation reactions of ???-disubstituted nitroalkenes for asymmetric synthesis of chiral amino compounds. 2) Development of biomimetic proton transfer catalysis for enantioselective isomerizations of ???-unsaturated carbonyl to chiral ???-unsaturated carbonyl compounds via tandem deprotonation-protonation reactions. 3) Development of asymmetric peroxidations via enantioselective and chemo-controlled conjugate addition-protonation reactions with hydroperoxides. By establishing a broad range of synthetically important asymmetric transformations that currently represent unmet challenges for existing catalysts, our studies will provide unique entries into and achieve efficient asymmetric syntheses of chiral molecules of biological and therapeutic interest that are either inaccessible or difficult to prepare in a concise and useful manner by existing synthetic methods.

Public Health Relevance

Small molecules constitute one of the most important forms of therapeutic agents and play an increasingly important role in biomedical research. The goal of this work is to develop new and efficient synthetic methods that will greatly enhance our ability to rapidly create molecules of diverse structures with defined configuration, thereby providing biomedical researchers with powerful tools to accelerate the discovery of small molecules possessing biologically interesting and therapeutically desirable properties. These synthetic methods will also provide the foundation for the development of cost-effective processes for the sustainable manufacturing of therapeutic agents with significant implications to public health.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Synthetic and Biological Chemistry B Study Section (SBCB)
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Lees, Robert G
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Brandeis University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
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Li, Zhe; Hu, Bin; Wu, Yongwei et al. (2018) Control of chemoselectivity in asymmetric tandem reactions: Direct synthesis of chiral amines bearing nonadjacent stereocenters. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115:1730-1735
Zhou, Xiao; Wu, Yongwei; Deng, Li (2016) Cinchonium Betaines as Efficient Catalysts for Asymmetric Proton Transfer Catalysis: The Development of a Practical Enantioselective Isomerization of Trifluoromethyl Imines. J Am Chem Soc 138:12297-302
Hu, Lin; Wu, Yongwei; Li, Zhe et al. (2016) Catalytic Asymmetric Synthesis of Chiral ?-Amino Ketones via Umpolung Reactions of Imines. J Am Chem Soc 138:15817-15820
Hu, Lin; Lu, Xiaojie; Deng, Li (2015) Catalytic Enantioselective Peroxidation of ?,?-Unsaturated Aldehydes for the Asymmetric Synthesis of Biologically Important Chiral Endoperoxides. J Am Chem Soc 137:8400-3
Zheng, Yang; Deng, Li (2015) Catalytic Asymmetric Direct Aldol Reaction of ?-Alkyl Azlactones and Aliphatic Aldehydes. Chem Sci 6:6510-6514
Wu, Yongwei; Hu, Lin; Li, Zhe et al. (2015) Catalytic asymmetric umpolung reactions of imines. Nature 523:445-50
Lu, Xiaojie; Deng, Li (2014) Catalytic asymmetric peroxidation of ?,?-unsaturated nitroalkenes by a bifunctional organic catalyst. Org Lett 16:2358-61
Wu, Yongwei; Deng, Li (2012) Asymmetric synthesis of trifluoromethylated amines via catalytic enantioselective isomerization of imines. J Am Chem Soc 134:14334-7
Lee, Jung Hwa; Deng, Li (2012) Asymmetric approach toward chiral cyclohex-2-enones from anisoles via an enantioselective isomerization by a new chiral diamine catalyst. J Am Chem Soc 134:18209-12
Provencher, Brian A; Bartelson, Keith J; Liu, Yan et al. (2011) Structural study-guided development of versatile phase-transfer catalysts for asymmetric conjugate additions of cyanide. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 50:10565-9

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