Isothiazoles are valuable structural motifs found in many natural products, pharmaceutical compounds, and functional materials. For this reason, streamlined methods for their synthesis from readily available compounds must be developed.
Herein, we developed a synthetic method for obtaining a wide variety of isothiazoles by the Rh-catalyzed transannulation of 1,2,3-thiadiazoles with alkyl, aryl, and heteroaryl nitriles, which proceeds via an α-thiavinyl Rh-carbenoid intermediate. The results suggest that during its reaction with nitriles, the α-thiavinyl carbene acts as an umpolung 1,3-dipole equivalent, in contrast to its behavior during its reaction with alkynes. The developed method was successfully employed to synthesize pentaoligomeric arylene compounds consisting of three benzene and two isothiazole rings.