Ethyl- and propyl-prismarenes are obtained in high yields and in short reaction times, independent of the nature and size of the solvent, in the cyclization of 2,6-dialkoxynaphthalene with paraformaldehyde. PrS(Et) or PrS(nPr) adopt, both in solution and in the solid state, a folded cuboid-shaped conformation, in which four inward oriented alkyl chains fill the cavity of the macrocycle. On these bases, we proposed that the cyclization of PrS(Et) or PrS(nPr) occurs through an intramolecular thermodynamic self-templating effect. In other words, the self-filling of the internal cavity of PrS(Et) or PrS(nPr) stabilizes their cuboid structure, driving the equilibrium toward their formation. Molecular recognition studies, both in solution and in the solid state, show that the introduction of guests into the macrocycle cavity forces the cuboid scaffold to open, through an induced-fit mechanism. An analogous conformational change from a closed to an open state occurs during the endo-cavity complexation process of the pentamer, PrS. These results represent a rare example of a thermodynamically controlled cyclization process driven through an intramolecular self-template effect, which could be exploited in the synthesis of novel macrocycles.
Della Sala, Paolo;Del Regno, Rocco;Di Marino, Luca;Calabrese, Carmela;Talotta, Carmen;Capobianco, Amedeo;Neri, Placido;Gaeta, Carmine
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