The chemistry of transition metal complexes with each class of three-membered ring heterocycle is studied. A focus of early research in this area involved reactions of metal carbonyl compounds, where it was shown that CO insertion and occasionally isomerization of the heterocylic substrates are the predominant outcomes. On the basis of these early stoichiometric studies, chemists were able to develop various metal-catalyzed carbonylation reactions, mostly with epoxides and aziridines as substrates, and these transformations have proven extremely valuable to the synthetic community. Recently, attention has been directed to co-opting cross-coupling techniques to enable general methods for carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bond construction with these electrophiles. To facilitate the design of new methods, a better fundamental understanding of the underlying principles governing the reactivity of organometallic complexes with these heterocyclic substrates is necessary.
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