We have developed palladium(0)/monophosphine-catalyzed trans-selective arylative, alkenylative, alkylative, and alkynylative cyclization reactions of alkyne-aldehydes and -ketones with organoboron reagents. These reactions afford six-membered allylic alcohols with endo tri- or tetra-substituted olefin groups and/or five-membered counterparts with exo olefin groups. The ratios of these products are dramatically affected by alkyne substituents as well as the phosphine ligand. The remarkable trans selectivity of the process results from the novel reaction mechanism involving 'anti-Wacker'-type oxidative addition. Although the cyclization reactions are influenced by the length of the tether between the alkyne and carbonyl group, they can be applied to a multi-component synthesis of biologically important indenes bearing three substituent groups at 1, 2, 3-positions from available o-ethynylbenzaldehyde derivatives. A two-component coupling reaction in methanol provides 1H-indenols, while a three-component reaction involving secondary aliphatic amines as the third component in DMF affords 1H-indenamines. This method allows combinatorial preparation of unsymmetrically substituted 1H-indenes that cannot be prepared via previous synthetic routes. The same catalytic system can also transform allene-carbonyl compounds into 3-cyclohexenols and -cyclopentenols with alkyl, aryl, alkenyl, alkynyl, and boryl groups at C-3. Microwave irradiation efficiently increases not only the reaction rate but also the product yield by suppressing formation of hydroarylation byproducts. Cyclization of optically active 1,3-disubstituted allene-aldehyde reveals that the reaction proceeds through not carbopalladation but 'anti-Wacker'-type oxidative addition.
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