A novel transformation of primary amines to the corresponding N-monoalkylhy
droxylamines is described. The three-step protocol involves selective mono-
cyanomethylation of primary amines, regioselective formation of nitrones by
m-CPBA oxidation, and hydroxylaminolysis of the nitrones with hydroxylamin
e hydrochloride. The method is applicable for a wide range of primary amine
s, including alkyl, benzyl, and chiral.