Synlett 2019; 30(12): 1442-1446
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1689972
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Copper(II)-Promoted Oxidation/[3+2]Cycloaddition/Aromatization Cascade: Efficient Synthesis of Tetrasubstituted NH-Pyrrole from Chalcones and Iminodiacetates

Zhang-qi Lin
Chao-dong Li
Zi-chun Zhou
Shuai Xue
Jian-rong Gao
Qing Ye
Yu-jin Li*
College of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310014, P. R. of China   Email:
› Author Affiliations
We gratefully acknowledge the financial supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (21606201), the National Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang (LY13B020016) and Technological Innovation Program in Zhejiang Province (Zhejiang Xinmiao Talents Program) (2017R403066).
Further Information

Publication History

Received: 11 April 2019

Accepted after revision: 16 May 2019

Publication Date:
12 June 2019 (online)


A simple and highly efficient method for the preparation of tetrasubstituted NH-pyrrole from a wide range of chalcones and diethyl iminodiacetates via a Cu(OAc)2-promoted oxidation/[3+2]cycloaddition/aromatization cascade reaction has been developed. This reaction proceeds through dehydrogenations, deamination, and oxidative cyclization, affording the corresponding products in good to excellent yields. This convenient methodology for constructing tetrasubstituted NH-pyrroles has several advantages over existing methods, such as the use of easily accessible chalcones and readily available diethyl iminodiacetates, and mild reaction conditions. A wide range of substrates are tolerated.

Supporting Information

  • References and Notes

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  • 18 All chemicals were purchased from commercial vendors and were used as received without further purification. The 1H and 13C NMR spectra were recorded at 500 and 125 MHz, respectively, in CDCl3 using TMS as internal standard with a Bruker AM 500 spectrometer. Chemical shifts (δ) are reported as parts per million (ppm) and the following abbreviations are used to identify the multiplicities: s=singlet, d=doublet, t=triplet, q=quartet, m=multiplet, b=broad and all combinations thereof can be explained by their integral parts. HRMS data were obtained with a Thermo Scientific LTQ Orbitrap XL mass spectrometer and the GC-MS were recorded with an Agilent (GC431-MS210). Thin-layer chromatography was performed on pre-coated glass-backed plates and visualized with UV light at 254 nm. Flash column chromatography was performed on silica gel (see the Supporting Information). Synthesis of 3a; Typical Procedure A mixture of chalcone 1a (0.25 mmol, 0.0520 g), diethyl iminodiacetate 2a (0.5 mmol, 0.0945 g), Et3N (0.25 mmol, 0.0253 g), and Cu(OAc)2 (0.25 mmol, 0.0498 g) was dissolved in DMF (1.0 mL) in a thick-walled tube (10 mL). The mixture was stirred at 100 °C for 8 h under air atmosphere, and the progress of the reaction was monitored by TLC (PE/EtOAc = 2:1 (v/v)). Upon completion, the mixture was cooled to r.t. and poured into saturated aqueous NaCl (10.0 mL) and extracted with EtOAc (3 × 10.0 mL). The acquired organic phases were combined and dried over anhydrous Na2SO4. After removing the volatile solvent, the product 3a was obtained as a white solid in 90% yield by isolation with silica column chromatography (eluting solvent: petroleum ether/EtOAc = 2:1 (v/v)).