Inverse hydride shuttle catalysis enables the stereoselective one-step synthesis of complex frameworks

Nat Chem. 2022 Nov;14(11):1306-1310. doi: 10.1038/s41557-022-00991-4. Epub 2022 Oct 20.


The rapid assembly of complex scaffolds in a single step from simple precursors identifies as an ideal reaction in terms of efficiency and sustainability. Indeed, the direct single-step synthesis of complex alkaloid frameworks remains an unresolved problem at the heart of organic chemistry in spite of the tremendous progress of the discipline. Herein, we present a broad strategy in which dynamically assembled ternary complexes are converted into valuable azabicyclic scaffolds based on the concept of inverse hydride shuttle catalysis. The ternary complexes are readily constructed in situ from three simple precursors and enable a highly modular installation of various substitution patterns. Upon subjection to a unique dual-catalytic system, the transient intermediates undergo an unusual hydride shuttle process that is initiated by a hydride donation event. Furthermore, we show that, in combination with asymmetric organocatalysis, the product alkaloid frameworks are obtained in excellent optical purity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Catalysis*