In most cases where ring closing metathesis is applied to the synthesis of heterocycles, α,ω-dienes are used as precursors. If substrates containing more than two double bonds are subjected to a metathesis reaction, carba- or heterocycles bearing additional exocyclic alkene functionality result, or multiple ring closing processes occur. This offers interesting and potentially very useful synthetic perspectives. On the other hand, selectivity problems need to be addressed as the cyclization of substrates with more than two double bonds available for olefin metathesis may result in constitutional isomers or stereoisomers. This review highlights problems and opportunities evolving from ring closing metathesis of tri-, tetra-, and polyenes as a strategy for the selective synthesis of functionalized heterocycles. The chapter on RCM of trienes is subdivided according to the symmetry of the metathesis precursor. The following two chapters deal with the double or multiple RCM of tetra- or polyenes. These processes are further classified according to the preferred cyclization mode. Finally, the application of cascade or domino metathesis reactions to the synthesis of heterocycles will be discussed. These processes can be classified into those where exclusively C-C-double bonds take part in the metathesis reaction, and those where one or more C-C-triple bonds are involved.
Keywords: ring rearrangement metathesis, N-heterocyclic carbene, camphor sulfonic acid, Polyheterocycles, erythravine, carbohydrate templates, glycosidase inhibitor
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