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Transition metal-catalyzed modifications of the activated heterocyclic bases of nucleosides as well as DNA or RNA fragments employing traditional cross-coupling methods have been well-established in nucleic acid chemistry. This review covers advances in the area of cross-coupling reactions in which nucleosides are functionalized via direct activation of the C8-H bond in purine and the C5-H or C6-H bond in uracil bases. The review focuses on Pd/Cu-catalyzed couplings between unactivated nucleoside bases with aryl halides. It also discusses cross-dehydrogenative arylations and alkenylations as well as other reactions used for modification of nucleoside bases that avoid the use of organometallic precursors and involve direct C-H bond activation in at least one substrate. The scope and efficiency of these coupling reactions along with some mechanistic considerations are discussed.
Liang, Yong and Wnuk, Stanislaw F., "Modification of Purine and Pyrimidine Nucleosides by Direct C-H Bond Activation" (2015). Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Paper 13.