On the mechanism of the selenolactonization reaction with selenenyl halides

Scott E. Denmark, Michael G. Edwards

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The mechanism of selenocyclization reactions of β,γ-unsaturated acids and their derivatives has been studied. The reactions of (E)-4-phenyl-3-butenoic acid 10 and its silyl and alkyl esters with benzeneselenenyl chloride (PhSeCl) and bromide (PhSeBr) have been examined by VT-NMR and in situ IR spectroscopic methods. Whereas the reactions of the acid 10 in the presence of a base were irreproducible and complicated, reactions of the silyl esters were clean and spontaneously and quantitatively afforded a chloroselenylation adduct at -70 °C as a single (Markovnikov) isomer. This adduct underwent three processes as the temperature was raised: (1) reversal to the starting materials, (2) isomerization to the anti-Markovnikov product, and (3) cyclization to the selenolactone 12. All of these processes are believed to proceed via a seleniranium ion the intermediacy of which was established by independent synthesis and spectroscopic identification. The reversible formation of chloro selenide adducts was unambiguously established by crossover experiments. The reaction of 10 with PhSeBr was found to be rapid but thermodynamically unfavorable at room temperature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7293-7306
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Organic Chemistry
Issue number19
StatePublished - Sep 15 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry

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