There are substantial solvent effects in the Claisen reactions. More polar solvents tend to accelerate the reaction to a greater extent. Hydrogen-bonding solvents gave the highest rate constants. For example, ethanol/water solvent mixtures give rate constants 10-fold higher than sulfolane.
The Johnson-Claisen rearrangement is the reaction of an allylic alcohol with trimethyl orthoacetate to give a γ,δ-unsaturated ester.
An iminium can serve as one of the pi-bonded moieties in the rearrangement.
Chromium can oxidize allylic alcohols to alpha-beta unsaturated ketones on the opposite side of the unsaturated bond from the alcohol. This is via a concerted hetero-claisen reaction, although there are mechanistic differences since the chromium atom has access to d- shell orbitals which allow the reaction under a less constrained set of geometries.
The Chen-Mapp reaction also known as the [3,3]-Phosphorimidate Rearrangement or Staudinger-Claisen Reaction installs a phosphite in the place of an alcohol and takes advantage of the Staudinger Ligation to convert this to an imine. The subsequent claisen is driven by the fact that a P=O double bond is more energetically favorable than a P=N double bond.
Unlike typical Claisen rearrangements which require heating, zwitterionic Claisen rearrangements take place at or below room temperature. The acyl ammonium ions are highly selective for Z-enolates under mild conditions.
Claisen rearrangement in nature
The enzyme Chorismate mutase (EC 220.127.116.11) catalyzes the Claisen rearrangement of chorismate ion to prephenate ion, a key intermediate in the shikimic acid pathway (the biosynthetic pathway towards the synthesis of phenylalanine and tyrosine).