Nature-inspired radical pyridoxal-mediated C–C bond formation

23 April 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP) and derivatives of this cofactor enable a plethora of reactions in both enzyme-mediated and free-in-solution transformations. With few exceptions in each category, such chemistry has predominantly involved two-electron processes. This sometimes poses a significant challenge for using PLP to build tetrasubstituted carbon centers, especially when the reaction is reversible. The ability to access radical pathways is paramount to broadening the scope of reactions catalyzed by this coenzyme. In this study, we demonstrate the ability to access a radical PLP-based intermediate and engage this radical intermediate in a number of C–C bond forming reactions. By selecting an appropriate oxidant, single-electron oxidation of the quinonoid intermediate can be achieved, which can subsequently be applied to C–C bond forming reactions. Through this radical reaction pathway, we synthesized a series of α-tertiary amino acids and esters to investigate the substrate scope and identify non-productive reaction pathways. Beyond the amino acid model system, we demonstrate that other classes of amine substrates can be applied in this reaction and that a range of small molecule reagents can serve as a coupling partner to the semiquinone radical. We anticipate that this versatile semiquinone radical species will be central to the development of a range of novel reactions.


biomimetic catalysis


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