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Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Welcome to the Nature Communications Editors’ Highlights webpage on organic chemistry and chemical biology. Each month our editors select a small number of Articles recently published in Nature Communications that they believe are particularly interesting or important.

The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the area of organic chemistry and chemical biology at Nature Communications. Each editor handles a different area of this research, as described below:

Giovanni Bottari handles synthetic organic chemistry, more specifically catalytic and non-catalytic methodologies and total synthesis contents.

Julia Eckhoff handles manuscripts on chemical biology and medicinal chemistry.

Johannes Kreutzer handles manuscripts on chemical soft matter and advanced organic functional materials.

Prabhjot Saini handles manuscripts discussing polymers and hydrogels.

Giovanni Bottari

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Although the Sonogashira coupling of acetylenes and vinyl/aryl halides has been applied for decades, many mechanistic questions have remained unanswered. Here, the authors provide experimental and theoretical support for two interlinked palladium cycles operating in the debated Sonogashira coupling mechanism.

    • Martin Gazvoda
    • , Miha Virant
    • , Balazs Pinter
    •  &  Janez Košmrlj
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Diversity-oriented synthesis is a valuable strategy to construct complex molecules of medicinal interest. Here, the authors show a folding cascade strategy to convert linear substrates into polycyclic compounds with multiple stereocentres by combining the reductive chemistry of SmI2 with 1,5-hydrogen atom transfer.

    • Mateusz P. Plesniak
    • , Monserrat H. Garduño-Castro
    • , Philipp Lenz
    • , Xavier Just-Baringo
    •  &  David J. Procter
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Catalytic reduction of CO2 and biomass derivatives is of great current interest from a sustainable chemistry perspective. Here, the authors report a manganese pincer complex able to reduce under mild conditions carboxylic acids, carbonates and even carbon dioxide using pinacolborane as reducing agent.

    • Christina Erken
    • , Akash Kaithal
    • , Suman Sen
    • , Thomas Weyhermüller
    • , Markus Hölscher
    • , Christophe Werlé
    •  &  Walter Leitner
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Transformation of strong C-F bonds into C-Si bonds is an extremely useful strategy for further derivatization of organic molecules. Here, the authors report a nickel-catalyzed strategy to convert aryl fluorides into sylylated arenes while defluorosilylation of alkyl fluorides is achieved under metal-free conditions.

    • Benqiang Cui
    • , Shichong Jia
    • , Etsuko Tokunaga
    •  &  Norio Shibata
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Shizukaols, bioactive dimers naturally occurring in the Chloranthaceae family, possess a complex polycyclic framework with more than ten contiguous stereocenters. Here the authors report the total syntheses of shizukaols A and E achieved via a modified Diels–Alder reaction mimicking the biosynthetic pathway.

    • Jian-Li Wu
    • , Yin-Suo Lu
    • , Bencan Tang
    •  &  Xiao-Shui Peng
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Cu-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) reaction is a common bioconjugation technique; however oxidative degradation and residual copper may limit its use. Here, the authors show that ppm levels of Cu, generated in situ by solvent-mediated pipe erosion in flow, catalyze the CuAAC reaction with no product degradation.

    • Marine Z. C. Hatit
    • , Linus F. Reichenbach
    • , John M. Tobin
    • , Filipe Vilela
    • , Glenn A. Burley
    •  &  Allan J. B. Watson

Julia Eckhoff

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Accumulated HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR) limits the cholesterol-lowering effect of statins via a feedback loop. Here the authors developed a compound that degrades HMGCR, thus decreasing cholesterol levels and reducing atherosclerotic plaques.

    • Shi-You Jiang
    • , Hui Li
    • , Jing-Jie Tang
    • , Jie Wang
    • , Jie Luo
    • , Bing Liu
    • , Jin-Kai Wang
    • , Xiong-Jie Shi
    • , Hai-Wei Cui
    • , Jie Tang
    • , Fan Yang
    • , Wei Qi
    • , Wen-Wei Qiu
    •  &  Bao-Liang Song
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The efficacy of nanoparticles can be significantly inhibited by serum proteins binding to them. Here, the author developed a supramolecularly constructed protein corona on nanoparticles, which minimises interactions with serum proteins to prevent the clearance of these particles by macrophages.

    • Jun Yong Oh
    • , Han Sol Kim
    • , L. Palanikumar
    • , Eun Min Go
    • , Batakrishna Jana
    • , Soo Ah Park
    • , Ho Young Kim
    • , Kibeom Kim
    • , Jeong Kon Seo
    • , Sang Kyu Kwak
    • , Chaekyu Kim
    • , Sebyung Kang
    •  &  Ja-Hyoung Ryu
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Small molecules and peptide inhibitors have their benefits and faults when it comes to inhibiting protein-protein interactions. Here, the authors designed a peptoid-peptide hybrid that inhibited β-catenin/TCF interactions, leading to inhibition of Wnt signalling in models of prostate cancer.

    • Jeffrey A. Schneider
    • , Timothy W. Craven
    • , Amanda C. Kasper
    • , Chi Yun
    • , Michael Haugbro
    • , Erica M. Briggs
    • , Vladimir Svetlov
    • , Evgeny Nudler
    • , Holger Knaut
    • , Richard Bonneau
    • , Michael J. Garabedian
    • , Kent Kirshenbaum
    •  &  Susan K. Logan
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    New natural products can be identified via mass spectrometry by excluding all known ones from the analysis, a process called dereplication. Here, the authors extend a previously published dereplication algorithm to different classes of secondary metabolites.

    • Hosein Mohimani
    • , Alexey Gurevich
    • , Alexander Shlemov
    • , Alla Mikheenko
    • , Anton Korobeynikov
    • , Liu Cao
    • , Egor Shcherbin
    • , Louis-Felix Nothias
    • , Pieter C. Dorrestein
    •  &  Pavel A. Pevzner
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Garlic has a mild antibacterial activity due to its organosulfur content. Here, the authors develop an approach to convert natural organosulfur into iron-sulfur nanosheets, with significantly higher antibacterial activity that can be used against infections as well as biofilms.

    • Zhuobin Xu
    • , Zhiyue Qiu
    • , Qi Liu
    • , Yixin Huang
    • , Dandan Li
    • , Xinggui Shen
    • , Kelong Fan
    • , Juqun Xi
    • , Yunhao Gu
    • , Yan Tang
    • , Jing Jiang
    • , Jialei Xu
    • , Jinzhi He
    • , Xingfa Gao
    • , Yuan Liu
    • , Hyun Koo
    • , Xiyun Yan
    •  &  Lizeng Gao
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Albomycins are promising drug candidates for the treatment of bacterial infections. Here, the authors describe the total syntheses of albomycins δ1, δ2, and ε, and evaluate their antimicrobial activity, identifying albomycin δ2 as a strong agent against S. pneumoniae and S. aureus infections.

    • Zihua Lin
    • , Xiaobo Xu
    • , Sheng Zhao
    • , Xiaohong Yang
    • , Jian Guo
    • , Qun Zhang
    • , Chunmei Jing
    • , Shawn Chen
    •  &  Yun He

Johannes Kreutzer

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Tuning the mechanical properties of extracellular matrix is of great interest in tissue engineering but spatial control over stiffness in hydrogels has been demonstrated in two dimensions only. Here the authors developed a layer-by-layer printing technique which uses oxygen inhibition to control the heterogeneous stiffness in 3D printed structures.

    • Hang Yin
    • , Yonghui Ding
    • , Yao Zhai
    • , Wei Tan
    •  &  Xiaobo Yin
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Monodisperse biaxial colloidal particles are used as model systems to understand the phase behavior of biaxial molecules but high-quality biaxial colloids are limited. Here the authors describe gram-scale synthesis of uniform biaxial colloidal cuboids and their assembly into mesophasic structures.

    • Yang Yang
    • , Guangdong Chen
    • , Srinivas Thanneeru
    • , Jie He
    • , Kun Liu
    •  &  Zhihong Nie
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Gels filtering particles by interactions are a goal of nanotechnology; this is difficult when particles are larger than the mesh of the gel. Here, the authors present an equilibrium mechanism where binding dynamics of crosslinks are affected by interacting particles so that particles experience enhanced diffusion.

    • Carl P. Goodrich
    • , Michael P. Brenner
    •  &  Katharina Ribbeck
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Superplasticity enables processing on hard-to-work solids but superelastic deformation, especially in a single-crystal-to-single-crystal manner, was not demonstrated for organic crystals so far. Here the authors demonstrate a single-crystal-to-single-crystal superplasticity in a crystal of N,N-dimethyl-4-nitroaniline.

    • Satoshi Takamizawa
    • , Yuichi Takasaki
    • , Toshiyuki Sasaki
    •  &  Noriaki Ozaki
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) find increasing application as sensor material, but fast switching solvatochromism was not realized. Here the authors demonstrate that combination of electron-rich and -deficient building blocks leads to COFs which fast and reversibly change of their electronic structure depending on the surrounding atmosphere.

    • Laura Ascherl
    • , Emrys W. Evans
    • , Matthias Hennemann
    • , Daniele Di Nuzzo
    • , Alexander G. Hufnagel
    • , Michael Beetz
    • , Richard H. Friend
    • , Timothy Clark
    • , Thomas Bein
    •  &  Florian Auras
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Water uptake of natural polymers is accompanied by swelling and changes in the internal structure of the polymeric system but the exact mechanism of water-uptake and swelling remained unknown. Here the authors use atom-scale simulations to identify a molecular mechanism which is responsible for hysteresis in sorption-induced swelling in natural polymers.

    • Mingyang Chen
    • , Benoit Coasne
    • , Robert Guyer
    • , Dominique Derome
    •  &  Jan Carmeliet

Prabhjot Saini

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    High-conductivity solid-state electrolyte materials with minimal polarization loss are difficult to synthesize. Here the authors show single-ion block copolymers with crystalline protogenic channels having a promising potential to be used as efficient proton conductors.

    • Onnuri Kim
    • , Kyoungwook Kim
    • , U. Hyeok Choi
    •  &  Moon Jeong Park
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The mechanism for nickel-catalyzed catalyst transfer polycondensation of thiophenes to polythiophenes. Here the authors show experimental and computational evidence of structurally characterized square planar η2-Ni(0)–thiophene species and their relevance to the mechanism of catalyst transfer polycondensation.

    • Weiying He
    • , Brian O. Patrick
    •  &  Pierre Kennepohl
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Sequence-defined macromolecules consist of a defined chain length and topology and can be used in applications such as antibiotics and data storage. Here the authors developed two algorithms to encode text fragments and QR codes as a collection of oligomers and to reconstruct the original data.

    • Steven Martens
    • , Annelies Landuyt
    • , Pieter Espeel
    • , Bart Devreese
    • , Peter Dawyndt
    •  &  Filip Du Prez
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Functionalisation of conjugated polymers is essential for performance in many applications, yet there are limited approaches to achieve this. Here the authors developed a method for the direct postpolymerisation modification of the aromatic backbone of conjugated polymers and used them to create multifunctional semiconducting nanoparticles.

    • Adam Creamer
    • , Christopher S. Wood
    • , Philip D. Howes
    • , Abby Casey
    • , Shengyu Cong
    • , Adam V. Marsh
    • , Robert Godin
    • , Julianna Panidi
    • , Thomas D. Anthopoulos
    • , Claire H. Burgess
    • , Tingman Wu
    • , Zhuping Fei
    • , Iain Hamilton
    • , Martyn A. McLachlan
    • , Molly M. Stevens
    •  &  Martin Heeney
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    A possible route to producing processable soft materials is by assembling metal organic cubes into hydrogels. Here the authors show charge-assisted H-bond driven self-assembly of Ga3+-based anionic metal organic cubes and suitable molecular binders towards multi-functional hydrogels.

    • Papri Sutar
    • , Venkata M. Suresh
    • , Kolleboyina Jayaramulu
    • , Arpan Hazra
    •  &  Tapas Kumar Maji