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Gold catalysis is an important method for alkyne functionalization. Here we report the gold-catalyzed formal [3+2] aminative cyclization of yndiamides and isoxazoles in a direct synthesis of polysubstituted diaminopyrroles, which are important motifs in drug discovery. Key to this process is the formation, and subsequent cyclization, of an α-imino gold Fischer carbene, which represents a new type of gold carbene intermediate. The reaction proceeds rapidly under mild conditions, with high regioselectivity being achieved by introducing a subtle steric bias between the nitrogen substituents on the yndiamide. DFT calculations revealed that the key to this regioselectivity was the interconversion of isomeric gold keteniminiun ions via a low-barrier π-complex transition state, which establishes a Curtin-Hammett scenario for isoxazole addition. By using benzisoxazoles as substrates, the reaction outcome could be switched to a formal [5+2] cyclization, leading to 1,4-oxazepines.

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carbene, cyclization, gold catalysis, pyrrole, yndiamide