Sulfur(VI) Fluoride Exchange (SuFEx): Another Good Reaction for Click Chemistry

Authors

  • Dr. Jiajia Dong,

    1. Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037 (USA)
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Dr. Larissa Krasnova,

    1. Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037 (USA)
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    • These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Prof. M. G. Finn,

    1. School of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332 (USA)
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  • Prof. K. Barry Sharpless

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037 (USA)
    2. The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037 (USA)
    • Department of Chemistry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037 (USA)

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Abstract

Aryl sulfonyl chlorides (e.g. Ts-Cl) are beloved of organic chemists as the most commonly used SVI electrophiles, and the parent sulfuryl chloride, O2SVICl2, has also been relied on to create sulfates and sulfamides. However, the desired halide substitution event is often defeated by destruction of the sulfur electrophile because the SVI[BOND]Cl bond is exceedingly sensitive to reductive collapse yielding SIV species and Cl. Fortunately, the use of sulfur(VI) fluorides (e.g., R-SO2-F and SO2F2) leaves only the substitution pathway open. As with most of click chemistry, many essential features of sulfur(VI) fluoride reactivity were discovered long ago in Germany.6a Surprisingly, this extraordinary work faded from view rather abruptly in the mid-20th century. Here we seek to revive it, along with John Hyatt’s unnoticed 1979 full paper exposition on CH2[DOUBLE BOND]CH-SO2-F, the most perfect Michael acceptor ever found.98 To this history we add several new observations, including that the otherwise very stable gas SO2F2 has excellent reactivity under the right circumstances. We also show that proton or silicon centers can activate the exchange of S[BOND]F bonds for S[BOND]O bonds to make functional products, and that the sulfate connector is surprisingly stable toward hydrolysis. Applications of this controllable ligation chemistry to small molecules, polymers, and biomolecules are discussed.

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