Table of contents



The perfect peer p831


What makes the ideal referee report?

Subject term: General chemistry



Lost history versus good science pp832 - 833

Qian Wang & Chris Toumey


The historical context in which a scientific paper is published is an important factor that should not be overlooked, suggest Qian Wang and Chris Toumey.

Subject terms: General chemistry | Nanotechnology



Blogroll: Carnival! p835



News and Views

DNA complexes: Durable binders pp836 - 837

Adam R. Urbach


A tetra-intercalator compound that threads through a DNA double-helix to form a remarkably stable complex exhibits an unusual combination of sequence specificity and rapid association yet slow dissociation.

Subject terms: Chemical biology | Organic chemistry | Supramolecular chemistry

See also: Article by Holman et al.

Biophysics: Breaking out of the cage pp837 - 839

Chia-Ching Chou & Markus J. Buehler


Activating caged reactive sites in proteins using mechanical force provides a powerful approach in the study of chemical reactions, and provides greater insight into which reactions are possible and their rates.

Subject terms: Biochemistry | Physical chemistry

See also: Article by Alegre-Cebollada et al.

Solid acid catalysts: Stain and shine pp839 - 840

Peng Chen


Catalyst particles for fluid catalytic cracking are vital for the oil-refinery industry, but their activity is hard to diagnose because of their inter- and intra-particle structural inhomogeneity. With fluorescence confocal microscopy and selective staining, one can now pinpoint the catalytic activity within single catalyst particles from an industrial reactor.

Subject terms: Catalysis | Physical chemistry | Materials chemistry

See also: Article by Buurmans et al.

Bioenergetics: Proton fronts on membranes pp840 - 842

Noam Agmon & Menachem Gutman


Proton migration on membranes is a crucial step in the bioenergetics of the cell. It has typically been regarded as slow successive proton transfers between ionizable moieties within the membrane, but recent measurements suggest fast lateral diffusion in the membrane's hydration layer.

Subject terms: Physical chemistry | Chemical biology

Molecular devices: Communicating chirality pp842 - 843

Jonathan Clayden


Conformational control can be used to transmit information in the form of chirality over relatively long molecular distances and could be the key to the preparation of minimalistic synthetic mimics of biological systems.

Subject term: Supramolecular chemistry

See also: Article by Ousaka et al.



Opportunities in chemistry and materials science for topological insulators and their nanostructures pp845 - 849

Desheng Kong & Yi Cui


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Topological insulators — insulators or semiconductors with metallic states present at their boundaries — are the 'rising stars' of condensed-matter physics. This Perspective introduces these materials and their properties, and looks at the challenges and opportunities the community faces.

Subject terms: Materials chemistry | Physical chemistry



Ultrafast energy flow in the wake of solution-phase bimolecular reactions pp850 - 855

David R. Glowacki, Rebecca A. Rose, Stuart J. Greaves, Andrew J. Orr-Ewing & Jeremy N. Harvey


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The flow of vibrational energy into reactants and out of products plays a critical role in nearly every chemical reaction. Here, a time-resolved ultrafast microscopic map of energy flow is provided for a thermal bimolecular chemical reaction that takes place in dichloromethane, a typical organic solvent.

Subject terms: Theoretical chemistry | Physical chemistry

Chiral information harvesting in dendritic metallopeptides pp856 - 861

Naoki Ousaka, Yuki Takeyama, Hiroki Iida & Eiji Yashima


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2,2′-bipyridine ligands coordinate to metals to form chiral propeller-like complexes. Now, this chirality is shown to be controlled by the coordination of 2,2′-bipyridine ligands that bear helical oligopeptides, which incorporate chiral amino acids at positions remote from the metal centre. This chirality is further translated, via the metal centre, to other achiral-oligopeptide-containing ligands.

Subject term: Supramolecular chemistry

See also: News and Views by Clayden

Catalytic activity in individual cracking catalyst particles imaged throughout different life stages by selective staining pp862 - 867

Inge L. C. Buurmans, Javier Ruiz-Martínez, William V. Knowles, David van der Beek, Jaap A. Bergwerff, Eelco T. C. Vogt & Bert M. Weckhuysen


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Insight into the active zeolitic domains of catalyst particles used in fluid catalytic cracking is limited by the particles' complex nature, but is crucial to improving these billion dollar catalysts. Now, a staining method allows confocal fluorescence microscopy to probe within single catalyst particles, and correlate Brønsted acidity distributions to catalytic activity.

Subject terms: Catalysis | Physical chemistry | Materials chemistry

See also: News and Views by Chen

In situ quantitative imaging of cellular lipids using molecular sensors pp868 - 874

Youngdae Yoon, Park J. Lee, Svetlana Kurilova & Wonhwa Cho


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Cellular membrane lipids play key roles in cell regulation. Here, an environmentally sensitive fluorophore is attached to a protein that binds to a key signalling lipid to produce a membrane lipid sensor. This strategy allows sensitive, quantitative, spatiotemporal imaging of the lipid concentration in mammalian cells.

Subject terms: Analytical chemistry | Chemical biology

A sequence-specific threading tetra-intercalator with an extremely slow dissociation rate constant pp875 - 881

Garen G. Holman, Maha Zewail-Foote, Amy Rhoden Smith, Kenneth A. Johnson & Brent L. Iverson


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Molecules that bind to DNA for extended periods can modulate its transcription or other biological processes. Kinetic studies on the non-covalent complex formed by a threading tetra-intercalator and a DNA double-helix have now revealed a multi-step association, and a particularly slow dissociation leading to sequence specificity and a 16-day half-life.

Subject terms: Chemical biology | Organic chemistry | Supramolecular chemistry

See also: News and Views by Urbach

Direct observation of disulfide isomerization in a single protein pp882 - 887

Jorge Alegre-Cebollada, Pallav Kosuri, Jaime Andrés Rivas-Pardo & Julio M. Fernández


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Multiple redox reaction pathways exist in proteins containing several cysteines. A technique termed mechanical uncaging is now demonstrated, allowing the release of a single reactive cysteine within a protein and the unequivocal observation of subsequent thiol/disulfide exchanges. Mechanical uncaging of reactive groups is useful for studying chemical kinetics in a synchronized manner.

Subject terms: Biochemistry | Chemical biology | Physical chemistry

See also: News and Views by Chou & Buehler

Ultrafast vibrational energy transfer at the water/air interface revealed by two-dimensional surface vibrational spectroscopy pp888 - 893

Zhen Zhang, Lukasz Piatkowski, Huib J. Bakker & Mischa Bonn


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At water's surface, its network of hydrogen-bonds is abruptly interrupted, conferring distinct properties on interfacial water from bulk water. Understanding aqueous interfaces is essential for many environmental, technological and biophysical systems, and now the pathways and rates of energy transfer at the water/air interface are elucidated using a surface-specific ultrafast spectroscopic technique.

Subject terms: Physical chemistry | Surface chemistry

Enantioselective preparation and chemoselective cross-coupling of 1,1-diboron compounds pp894 - 899

Jack Chang Hung Lee, Robert McDonald & Dennis G. Hall


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Stereoselective Suzuki–Miyaura cross-coupling reactions involving non-benzylic secondary alkylboronates are notoriously challenging. Here, an enantioselective synthesis of 1,1-diboronyl compounds using asymmetric conjugate borylation, followed by chemoselective mono cross-coupling with inversion at the diboron centre, is used to produce highly enantioenriched benzylic or allylic boronates, which themselves are useful reagents for a number of processes.

Subject terms: Organic chemistry | Synthesis


In Your Element

Meteoric calcium p900

John M. C. Plane


Calcium is found throughout the solar system, the Earth's crust and oceans, and is an essential constituent of cells, shells and bones — yet it is curiously scarce in the upper atmosphere. John Plane ponders on this 25-year-old mystery.


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