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Aromatic Bromination versus Oxidation of Indolylmalonates by Bromine

Suárez Castillo, Oscar Rodolfo


Aromatic bromination versus oxidation of indolylmalonates by bromine. Morales-Ríos Martha. S., Santos-Sánchez Norma F., Suárez-Castillo Oscar R., Joseph-Nathan P. DOI: 10.1021/jo020543m


The reactions of 5-substituted indolylmalonates (2a?e), carrying an electron-withdrawing group at the N(1) position, with bromine in CCl4 or AcOH are reported. These substrates undergo oxidation in competition with the well-known aromatic bromination. Under the two sets of conditions, with parent indolylmalonate (2a), chemospecific oxidation is observed, whereas with 5-hydroxyindolylmalonate (2c), bromination at the 4- and 6-position is the dominating reaction. Investigation of the products composition of several 5-substituted indolylmalonates revealed the following trend:? with a 5-substituted electron-withdrawing group like fluorine, the indolylmalonate undergoes oxidation rather than bromination. In contrast, with a 5-substituted electron-donating group, like a hydroxyl group, the ring bromination occurs preferentially over the oxidation. When the 5-substituent is an alkoxyl group, a significant amount of brominated-oxidized products is obtained. Monitoring the oxidation reaction by mass spectrometry allowed the characterization of the 2-bromoindolylidenemalonate intermediate. A bromonium ion is considered as possible pathway in the formation of this intermediate. The conformation of unsymmetrical methoxyl and benzyloxyl substituents was determined from 1H NMR spectra, single-crystal X-ray diffraction and ab initio calculations.

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