Browse Articles

  • Article |

    Within natural product biosynthetic pathways, nature has evolved highly selective catalysts capable of complexity generating reactions. Leveraging these tools, a suite of catalysts with complementary site- and stereoselectivity have been applied to the oxidative dearomatization of phenolic compounds, enabling one-pot transformations of phenols into various natural products.

    • Summer A. Baker Dockrey
    • , April L. Lukowski
    • , Marc R. Becker
    •  & Alison R. H. Narayan
  • Article |

    Primer exchange reaction (PER) cascades have now been used to grow nascent single-stranded DNA with user-specified sequences following prescribed reaction pathways. PER synthesis occurs in a programmable, autonomous, in situ and environmentally responsive fashion, providing a platform for engineering molecular circuits and devices with a wide range of sensing, monitoring, recording, signal processing and actuation capabilities.

    • Jocelyn Y. Kishi
    • , Thomas E. Schaus
    • , Nikhil Gopalkrishnan
    • , Feng Xuan
    •  & Peng Yin
  • Article |

    Phosphorylation of (pre)biological molecules in water has been a long-sought goal in prebiotic chemistry. Now, it has been demonstrated that diamidophosphate phosphorylates nucleosides, amino acids and glycerol/fatty acids in aqueous medium, while simultaneously leading to higher-order structures such as oligonucleotides, peptides and liposomes in the same reaction mixture.

    • Clémentine Gibard
    • , Subhendu Bhowmik
    • , Megha Karki
    • , Eun-Kyong Kim
    •  & Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy
  • Article |

    Cyclic amines bearing α-substituents are valuable building blocks for drug discovery and natural product synthesis. Introduction of α-substituents via site-selective replacement of C–H bonds is highly attractive but typically limited to protected amine substrates. Now, an operationally simple hydride-transfer-based approach enables the introduction of α-substituents on unprotected amines.

    • Weijie Chen
    • , Longle Ma
    • , Anirudra Paul
    •  & Daniel Seidel
  • Article |

    The rate constant of DNA hybridization varies over several orders of magnitude and is affected by temperature and DNA sequence. A machine-learning algorithm that is capable of accurately predicting hybridization rate constants has now been developed. Tests with this algorithm showed that over 90% of predictions were correct to within a factor of three.

    • Jinny X. Zhang
    • , John Z. Fang
    • , Wei Duan
    • , Lucia R. Wu
    • , Angela W. Zhang
    • , Neil Dalchau
    • , Boyan Yordanov
    • , Rasmus Petersen
    • , Andrew Phillips
    •  & David Yu Zhang
  • Article |

    Electrochemical water oxidation in acidic media is a promising water-splitting technique, but typically requires noble metal catalysts. Now, two polyoxometalate salts based on earth-abundant metals have shown excellent catalytic performance for the oxygen evolution reaction. The barium salt of a cobalt- phosphotungstate polyanion outperformed the state-of-the-art IrO2 catalyst at pH's lower than 1.

    • Marta Blasco-Ahicart
    • , Joaquín Soriano-López
    • , Jorge J. Carbó
    • , Josep M. Poblet
    •  & J. R. Galan-Mascaros
  • Thesis |

    We all appreciate how chemical knowledge has advanced over the years, but Bruce C. Gibb reminds us that chemical culture has similarly made great advances.

    • Bruce C. Gibb
  • News and Views |

    Both the topology and the mechanical strength of woven materials have inspired great synthetic efforts to replicate their structures at the nanoscale. Now, a triaxial weave has been prepared by self-assembly of a judiciously designed organic molecule through π–π and CH–π interactions.

    • Yi Liu
  • News and Views |

    Although predicted many years ago, chemically reactive termolecular reactions were thought to be unimportant in defining the behaviour of combustion systems. Now, calculations have shown that such reactions between radicals and long-lived bimolecular complexes can actually play an important role in hydrogen combustion.

    • Rex T. Skodje
  • In Your Element |

    Iulia Georgescu explains her fascination with the elusive element 113.

    • Iulia Georgescu
  • News and Views |

    Understanding the biological roles of modifications to DNA, RNA and proteins is critical to revealing how cells regulate gene expression in development and disease. Two papers now present a combination of new tools and discoveries that could enable biologists and chemical biologists to better study epigenetic regulation in mammals.

    • Bryan T. Harada
    •  & Chuan He
  • Article |

    Colloidal particles of metal–organic frameworks (ZIF-8 and UiO-66) with different polyhedral shapes can self-assemble into well-ordered, porous three-dimensional superstructures. These superstructures function as photonic crystals, with a photonic band gap that depends on the size of the MOF particles and shifts upon the sorption of guests within their pores.

    • Civan Avci
    • , Inhar Imaz
    • , Arnau Carné-Sánchez
    • , Jose Angel Pariente
    • , Nikos Tasios
    • , Javier Pérez-Carvajal
    • , Maria Isabel Alonso
    • , Alvaro Blanco
    • , Marjolein Dijkstra
    • , Cefe López
    •  & Daniel Maspoch
  • Review |

    The emergence of synthetic fluorescent nucleobases that can be incorporated into DNA and RNA in place of their natural counterparts has enabled new tools and technologies with applications in chemistry, biology and biomedicine. This Review discusses chemical insights into canonical and non-canonical nucleobase designs, relating structure to properties.

    • Wang Xu
    • , Ke Min Chan
    •  & Eric T. Kool
  • Article |

    Oxidation chemistry is critical to introducing molecular complexity during chemical synthesis. Development of sustainable oxidation chemistry demands strategies to harness O2 as a terminal oxidant. Access to hypervalent iodine compounds — a class of broadly useful chemical oxidants — from O2 increases the scope of aerobic oxidation chemistry that can be achieved.

    • Asim Maity
    • , Sung-Min Hyun
    •  & David C. Powers
  • Article |

    The use of activating and directing groups can dramatically alter the course of a reaction. Now, it has been shown that an azo group can effectively perform as both in chiral phosphoric-acid catalysed formal nucleophilic aromatic substitution of azobenzene derivatives with indoles, affording axially chiral arylindoles with excellent enantioselectivities.

    • Liang-Wen Qi
    • , Jian-Hui Mao
    • , Jian Zhang
    •  & Bin Tan
  • Article |

    Although organocopper compounds are well known in organic chemistry, only recently has a set of catalytic reactions emerged that involves intermediates containing a copper-substituted stereogenic carbon centre. Now, a mechanistic study demonstrates that a better understanding of this distinction offers ways to address significant limitations in scope and enantioselectivity, explaining why unexpected variations in selectivity can occur.

    • Jaehee Lee
    • , Suttipol Radomkit
    • , Sebastian Torker
    • , Juan del Pozo
    •  & Amir H. Hoveyda
  • Review |

    DNA nanotechnology provides a versatile toolbox for engineering synthetic circuits in living cells. This Review discusses how nanostructures made from nucleic acids can enable biocomputation and also be readily interfaced with a variety of intracellular and in vivo components to facilitate synthetic biology applications.

    • Jiang Li
    • , Alexander A. Green
    • , Hao Yan
    •  & Chunhai Fan
  • Article |

    Steroids are arguably the most well studied and successful class of natural-product-inspired pharmaceuticals, yet step-economical and enantiospecific de novo synthesis remains challenging. Now, it is shown that the combination of metallacycle-mediated annulative cross-coupling and vinyl cyclopropane rearrangement chemistry can be used to deliver a variety of partially aromatic synthetic steroids in a concise, flexible and enantiospecific fashion.

    • Wan Shin Kim
    • , Kang Du
    • , Alan Eastman
    • , Russell P. Hughes
    •  & Glenn C. Micalizio
  • 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