Ultra-remote stereocontrol by conformational communication of information along a carbon chain

Jonathan Clayden*, Andrew Lund, Lluís Vallverdú, Madeleine Helltwell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

164 Citations (Scopus)


Many receptors and allosteric proteins function through binding of a molecule to induce a conformational change, which then influences a remote active site. In synthetic systems, comparable intramolecular information transfer can be effected by using the shape of one part of a molecule to control the stereoselectivity of reactions occurring some distance away. However, the need for direct communication with the reaction site usually limits such remote stereocontrol to distances of not more than about five bond lengths. Cyclic structures overcome this problem by allowing the controlling centre and the reaction site to approach each other, but the information transfer spans only short absolute distances. Truly remote stereocontrol can, however, be achieved with rigid compounds containing amide groups: the conformation of the amides can be controlled by stereogenic centres and responds to that of neighbouring amide groups and in turn influences stereoselective reactions. This strategy has allowed remote stereocontrol spanning 8 (ref. 11) or 9 (ref. 12) bonds. Here we demonstrate stereocontrol over a reaction taking place more than 20 bond lengths from the controlling centre, corresponding to a linear distance of over 2.5 nm. This transmission of information, achieved by conformational changes relayed through the molecule, provides a chemical model of allostery and might serve as a molecular mechanism for communicating and processing information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-971
Number of pages6
Issue number7011
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2004

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