Vitamin B12 and hydrogen atom transfer cooperative catalysis as a hydride nucleophile mimic in epoxide ring opening

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Epoxide ring-opening reactions have long been utilized to furnish alcohol products that are valuable in many subfields of chemistry. While many epoxide-opening reactions are known, the hydrogenative opening of epoxides via ionic means remains challenging because of harsh conditions and reactive hydride nucleophiles. Recent progress has shown that radical chemistry can achieve hydrogenative epoxide ring opening under relatively mild conditions; however, these methods invariably require oxophilic metal catalysts and sensitive reagents. In response to these challenges, we report a new approach to epoxide ring-opening hydrogenation using bio-inspired Earth-abundant vitamin B12 and thiol-centric hydrogen atom transfer (HAT) co-catalysis to produce Markovnikov alcohols under visible light irradiation. This powerful reaction system exhibits a broad substrate scope, including a number of electrophilic and reductively labile functionalities that would otherwise be susceptible to reduction or cleavage by hydride nucleophiles, and preliminary mechanistic experiments are consistent with a radical process.

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Funk, Brian E., Pauze, Martin, Lu, Yen-Chu, et al.. "Vitamin B12 and hydrogen atom transfer cooperative catalysis as a hydride nucleophile mimic in epoxide ring opening." Cell Reports Physical Science, 4, no. 4 (2023) Cell Press: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrp.2023.101372.

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This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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