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  1. Paraja, M.; Hao, X.; Matile, S. “Polyether Natural Product Inspired Cascade Cyclizations: Autocatalysis on π-Acidic Aromatic Surfaces” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 15093-15097

Anion-π catalysis functions by stabilizing anionic transition states on aromatic π surfaces, thus providing a new approach to molecular transformation. The delocalized nature of anion–π interactions suggests that they serve best in stabilizing long-distance charge displacements. Aiming therefore for an anionic cascade reaction that is as charismatic as the steroid cyclization is for conventional cation-π biocatalysis, reported here is the anion-π-catalyzed epoxide-opening ether cyclizations of oligomers. Only on π-acidic aromatic surfaces having a positive quadrupole moment, such as hexafluorobenzene to naphthalenediimides, do these polyether cascade cyclizations proceed with exceptionally high autocatalysis (rate enhancements kauto/kcat >104 m−1). This distinctive characteristic adds complexity to reaction mechanisms (Goldilocks-type substrate concentration dependence, entropy-centered substrate destabilization) and opens intriguing perspectives for future developments.

DOI: 10.1002/anie.202000681 

open archive unige:139856 • pdf