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As part of a long-term goal directed towards the ab initio asymmetric synthesis of unnatural amino sugars, the doubly diastereoselective conjugate addition reactions of the antipodes of lithium N-benzyl-N-(alpha-methylbenzyl)amide to a range of homochiral alpha,beta-unsaturated esters containing cis- and trans-dioxolane units was investigated. These reactions resulted in "matching" and "mismatching" effects. In the "matched" cases a single diastereoisomer of the corresponding beta-amino ester (containing three contiguous stereocentres) is produced. Upon conjugate addition to a homochiral alpha,beta-unsaturated ester containing a cis-dioxolane unit, in the "mismatched" case it is the stereocontrol of the substrate which is dominant over that of the lithium amide, whilst upon addition to homochiral alpha,beta-unsaturated esters containing a trans-dioxolane unit the stereocontrol of the homochiral lithium amide is dominant. Hydrogenolytic N-deprotection of the beta-amino ester products of conjugate addition gives access to polyoxygenated beta-amino acid derivatives.

Original publication




Journal article


Org Biomol Chem

Publication Date





761 - 776


Amides, Amino Acids, Dioxolanes, Esters, Lithium, Stereoisomerism