Focus: Actinide chemistry

A collection of articles in this Focus highlights work on uranium(VI) dianions bearing four U–N multiple bonds, berkelium(IV) stabilized in solution and delocalization in a plutonium material.

Latest Research

  • Article |

    Determining the structure­–activity relationships for complex structures can be quite challenging, but it is often the method by which many natural products are optimized for use as drugs. Now, the combination of a fluoroaryl borane catalyst, a phosphine additive and a silane reducing agent enables the late-stage selective modification of complex bioactive natural products in order to provide rapid access to a wide array of structures, and therefore functions.

    • Trandon A. Bender
    • , Philippa R. Payne
    •  & Michel R. Gagné
  • Article |

    Rationally designed arrays of hydrogen bonds between aromatic oligoamide segments have now been shown to generate abiotic helix-turn-helix and unexpected dimeric and trimeric helix bundle motifs. These structures show kinetic and thermodynamic stability, and cooperative folding in nonpolar solvents.

    • Soumen De
    • , Bo Chi
    • , Thierry Granier
    • , Ting Qi
    • , Victor Maurizot
    •  & Ivan Huc
  • Article |

    The biosynthesis of secondary metabolites such as stephacidin A and its congeners continues to intrigue both biochemists and synthetic chemists. Now, a laboratory chemical synthesis of these natural products has been achieved based on a bioinspired synthetic strategy, which may provide key insights into the possible biosynthesis of these captivating molecules.

    • Ken Mukai
    • , Danilo Pereira de Sant'Ana
    • , Yasuo Hirooka
    • , Eduardo V. Mercado-Marin
    • , David E. Stephens
    • , Kevin G. M. Kou
    • , Sven C. Richter
    • , Naomi Kelley
    •  & Richmond Sarpong
  • Article |

    Providing detailed structural descriptions of the ultrafast photochemical events that occur in light-sensitive proteins is key to their understanding. Now, excited-state structures in the reversibly switchable fluorescent protein rsEGFP2 have been solved by time-resolved crystallography using an X-ray laser. These structures enabled the design of a mutant with improved photoswitching quantum yields.

    • Nicolas Coquelle
    • , Michel Sliwa
    • , Joyce Woodhouse
    • , Giorgio Schirò
    • , Virgile Adam
    • , Andrew Aquila
    • , Thomas R. M. Barends
    • , Sébastien Boutet
    • , Martin Byrdin
    • , Sergio Carbajo
    • , Eugenio De la Mora
    • , R. Bruce Doak
    • , Mikolaj Feliks
    • , Franck Fieschi
    • , Lutz Foucar
    • , Virginia Guillon
    • , Mario Hilpert
    • , Mark S. Hunter
    • , Stefan Jakobs
    • , Jason E. Koglin
    • , Gabriela Kovacsova
    • , Thomas J. Lane
    • , Bernard Lévy
    • , Mengning Liang
    • , Karol Nass
    • , Jacqueline Ridard
    • , Joseph S. Robinson
    • , Christopher M. Roome
    • , Cyril Ruckebusch
    • , Matthew Seaberg
    • , Michel Thepaut
    • , Marco Cammarata
    • , Isabelle Demachy
    • , Martin Field
    • , Robert L. Shoeman
    • , Dominique Bourgeois
    • , Jacques-Philippe Colletier
    • , Ilme Schlichting
    •  & Martin Weik
  • Article |

    A 335 base-pair gene encoding the green fluorescent protein iLOV and an epigenetically modified variant have now been assembled by click-DNA ligation of ten functionalized oligonucleotides. The resulting fully synthetic gene contained eight triazoles at the sites of chemical ligation, yet the synthetic gene was shown to be fully biocompatible in Escherichia coli.

    • Mikiembo Kukwikila
    • , Nittaya Gale
    • , Afaf H. El-Sagheer
    • , Tom Brown
    •  & Ali Tavassoli
  • Article |

    Singlet fission — the conversion of one singlet exciton into two triplet excitons, could improve the efficiency of photovoltaic devices — but its mechanism is still to be fully understood. Now, in films of TIPS-tetracene, it has been shown that the formation of the triplet pair state, which has been proposed to mediate singlet fission, is ultrafast and vibronically coherent in this endothermic fission system.

    • Hannah L. Stern
    • , Alexandre Cheminal
    • , Shane R. Yost
    • , Katharina Broch
    • , Sam L. Bayliss
    • , Kai Chen
    • , Maxim Tabachnyk
    • , Karl Thorley
    • , Neil Greenham
    • , Justin M. Hodgkiss
    • , John Anthony
    • , Martin Head-Gordon
    • , Andrew J. Musser
    • , Akshay Rao
    •  & Richard H. Friend

News & Comment

  • Editorial |

    Our understanding of actinide chemistry lags behind that of the rest of the periodic table. A collection of articles in this issue highlights recent progress featuring uranium(VI) dianions bearing four U–N multiple bonds, berkelium(IV) stabilized in solution and delocalization of 5f electrons in a plutonium material.

  • In Your Element |

    The first new element produced after the Second World War has led a rather peaceful life since entering the period table — until it became the target of those producing superheavy elements, as Andreas Trabesinger describes.

    • Andreas Trabesinger
  • News and Views |

    Mathematically modelling metal–ligand bonding in late transition-metal complexes has been an important tool in catalyst development — although lacking for early transition metals such as Cr and Ti. Now, a simple method for measuring ligand donor properties promises to elevate high-valent early transition metal catalysis to the same level.

    • Ian A. Tonks
  • News and Views |

    Merging the advantages of homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysts is a useful strategy for creating improved catalytic systems. Now, a concept has been developed that uses single Pd atoms — supported within liquid alloy droplets — that emerge from the droplet subsurface and interior to react with molecules approaching from the gas phase.

    • Günther Rupprechter
  • Interview |

    Suzanne Bart from Purdue University talks to Nature Chemistry about her investigations into the chemistry of actinides, and why she finds them both challenging and rewarding.

    • Anne Pichon
  • Thesis |

    Bruce C. Gibb takes a look at the complex cocktail of chemical compounds that make up gin.

    • Bruce C. Gibb

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