Browse Articles

  • Perspective |

    Glucose-responsive insulin is a therapeutic that modulates its potency, concentration or dosing relative to a patient’s dynamic glucose concentration. This Perspective summarizes some of the recent accomplishments in this field as well as discussing new computational algorithms that may aid in the development of such therapeutics.

    • Naveed A. Bakh
    • , Abel B. Cortinas
    • , Michael A. Weiss
    • , Robert S. Langer
    • , Daniel G. Anderson
    • , Zhen Gu
    • , Sanjoy Dutta
    •  & Michael S. Strano
  • In Your Element |

    Dieter Ackermann explains why element 110 occupies a significant place in the superheavy corner of the periodic table.

    • Dieter Ackermann
  • News and Views |

    DNA double helical structures are supramolecular assemblies that are typically held together by classical Watson–Crick pairing. Now, nucleotide chelation of silver ions supports an extended silver–DNA hybrid duplex featuring an uninterrupted silver array.

    • Pascal Auffinger
    •  & Eric Ennifar
  • Commentary |

    The question often arises as to who may have deserved a Nobel Prize but was not awarded one. Rarely is this discussion extended to who should have received more than one Nobel Prize, but in the field of organic synthesis there are some compelling candidates.

    • Jeffrey I. Seeman
  • News and Views |

    Water is increasingly recognized as being of paramount importance in biological processes, yet its exact role remains difficult to elucidate. Now, the motion of water molecules within and around a synthetic peptide-amphiphile nanofibre has been precisely determined, showing significant differences between its core and surface.

    • Yoshimitsu Itoh
    •  & Takuzo Aida
  • News and Views |

    Ejecting electrons from negative ions using light can create structures that very closely resemble the transition states of bimolecular reactions. Now, using this technique, trapped quantum states, or 'resonances', have been observed in a seven-atom reaction, and theory has been shown to be up to the task of capturing such complex phenomena.

    • Robert E. Continetti
  • 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
  • Article |

    Two important properties in an activated chemical reaction are the barrier height and its geometrical dependence. Now, a method has been developed to directly map the angle-dependent barrier to reaction from polarized scattering data for the Cl + CHD3 reaction. The method should be applicable to many other direct reactions with a colinear barrier.

    • Huilin Pan
    • , Fengyan Wang
    • , Gábor Czakó
    •  & Kopin Liu
  • Article |

    Crystals are typically thought to be brittle and fragile materials, but needles of copper(II) acetylacetonate have now been shown to be flexible enough to be reversibly tied into a knot. Mechanistic investigations using synchrotron X-ray diffraction determined that the elastic bending occurs through rotation of the molecules within the crystal lattice.

    • Anna Worthy
    • , Arnaud Grosjean
    • , Michael C. Pfrunder
    • , Yanan Xu
    • , Cheng Yan
    • , Grant Edwards
    • , Jack K. Clegg
    •  & John C. McMurtrie
  • 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
  • Article |

    Two coordination cages have been devised that undergo covalent modification during a cascade of two orthogonal Diels–Alder reactions. This results in increased lipophilicity for the second cage, enabling its phase transfer and separation from the first. The trigger, relay and inhibition features of this cascade system mimic key aspects of natural post-translational modification cascades.

    • Ben S. Pilgrim
    • , Derrick A. Roberts
    • , Thorsten G. Lohr
    • , Tanya K. Ronson
    •  & Jonathan R. Nitschke
  • Article |

    Despite advances in peptide synthesis techniques, explicit control over the quaternary structure of synthetic peptides has remained elusive. Now, the dynamic covalent chemistry of hydrazide- and aldehyde-containing peptides has now been shown to enable the formation of unique quaternary structures with topological diversity. Using this method, oligomers were assembled into complex structures showing dramatic enhancements of antimicrobial effectiveness versus Staphylococcus Aureus.

    • James F. Reuther
    • , Justine L. Dees
    • , Igor V. Kolesnichenko
    • , Erik T. Hernandez
    • , Dmitri V. Ukraintsev
    • , Rusheel Guduru
    • , Marvin Whiteley
    •  & Eric V. Anslyn
  • Article |

    The first demonstration of a protein designed entirely from first principles that binds a small-molecule cofactor in a precisely predetermined orientation has now been described. The design method utilizes a remote protein core that both anchors and predisposes a flexible binding site for the desired cofactor-binding geometry.

    • Nicholas F. Polizzi
    • , Yibing Wu
    • , Thomas Lemmin
    • , Alison M. Maxwell
    • , Shao-Qing Zhang
    • , Jeff Rawson
    • , David N. Beratan
    • , Michael J. Therien
    •  & William F. DeGrado
  • Article |

    Polyoxygenated aliphatic chains with multiple hydroxyl groups are common in a wide array of compounds, often with potent biological activity. Now, a new ruthenium catalyst enables selective dehydrogenation of a single hydroxyl group in a broad scope of complex polyols. This site-selective modification facilitates the rapid incorporation of nitrogen-based functional groups into diverse natural products.

    • Christopher K. Hill
    •  & John F. Hartwig
  • Article |

    Chemically termolecular reactions — arising from the collision of ephemeral collision complexes with other chemically reactive species — have been neglected in current gas-phase chemical mechanisms of combustion and planetary atmospheres. First principles calculations reveal that such chemically termolecular reactions constitute major pathways affecting macroscopic observables.

    • Michael P. Burke
    •  & Stephen J. Klippenstein
  • Article |

    Intercalation — a cornerstone of materials science with wide-ranging applications — has now been demonstrated in a superatomic crystal. A redox-active tetracyanoethylene guest was inserted into the lattice of a material consisting of alternate layers of {Co6Te8} clusters and C60 fullerenes, leading to a single-crystal-to-single-crystal transformation that significantly modulates the material's optical and electrical transport properties.

    • Evan S. O'Brien
    • , M. Tuan Trinh
    • , Rose L. Kann
    • , Jia Chen
    • , Giselle A. Elbaz
    • , Amrita Masurkar
    • , Timothy L. Atallah
    • , Maria V. Paley
    • , Nilam Patel
    • , Daniel W. Paley
    • , Ioannis Kymissis
    • , Andrew C. Crowther
    • , Andrew J. Millis
    • , David R. Reichman
    • , X.-Y. Zhu
    •  & Xavier Roy