Catalytic, Dearomative 2,3-Difluorination of Indoles

31 July 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Indolines, characterized by their diverse biological activities and structural significance, have garnered considerable attention in the realms of natural product synthesis and drug discovery. Concurrently, the incorporation of fluorine atoms into organic molecules has emerged as a powerful strategy to enhance their pharmacological properties. Herein, we report a robust and diastereoselective approach for the synthesis of 2,3-difluorinated indolines through the iodine(I/III)-catalyzed dearomatization of readily available indoles. The protocol operates under mild conditions, displaying excellent functional group tolerance and remarkable diastereoselectivity. By employing this developed protocol, vicinal-difluorinated analogues of indole-containing drugs can be efficiently accessed. Theoretical calculations have shed light on the underlying reaction mechanism, proposing the formation of a β-fluorine-substituted carbocation intermediate. It is postulated that the observed high diastereoselectivity can be attributed to the dipole-dipole interactions facilitated by the C-F bond. Crystallographic analysis has revealed the profound impact of fluorine atom introduction on the conformational preferences of the indoline core. Given the unique structural characteristics and pharmacological significance of 2,3-difluorinated indolines, we anticipate their widespread application in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery endeavors.


vicinal difluorination
iodine catalysis

Supplementary materials

supporting information
Experimental procedures, NMR spectra for all compounds


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