14N to 15N Isotopic Exchange of Nitrogen Heteroaromatics through Skeletal Editing

05 October 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The selective modification of nitrogen heteroaromatics enables the development of new chemical tools and accelerates drug discovery. While methods that focus on expanding or contracting the skeletal structures of heteroaromatics are emerging, methods for the direct exchange of single core atoms remain limited. Here, we present a method for 14N → 15N isotopic exchange for several aromatic nitrogen heterocycles. This nitrogen isotope transmutation occurs through activation of the heteroaromatic substrate by triflylation of a nitrogen atom, followed by a ring-opening/ring-closure sequence mediated by 15N-aspartate to effect isotopic exchange of the nitrogen atom. Key to the success of this transformation is the formation of an isolable 15N-succinyl intermediate, which undergoes elimination to give the isotopically labeled heterocycle. These transformations occur under mild conditions in high chemical and isotopic yields.


Nitrogen Heteroaromatics
Zincke Salts
Isotopic Labeling
Late-Stage Functionalization


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