Conjugate addition of activated methylene derivatives to β-nitro acrylic esters in acetonitrile with DBU (2 equiv) as base, allows the one pot formation of polyfunctionalized α,β-unsaturated esters. The procedure is based on a tandem 'Michael addition-elimination' process favoured by the simultaneous behaviour of the nitro group as both an electron-withdrawing and leaving group. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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