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  • Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) protects organisms from the damaging effects of deep-sea high pressure, but it is not well understood how pressure and TMAO in combination perturb the water structure. Here, the authors use neutron scattering coupled with computational modelling of water at 25 bar and 4 kbar in the presence and absence of TMAO to propose an “osmolyte protection ratio” at which pressure and TMAO-induced energy changes effectively cancel out, which translates across scales to the organism level.

    • Harrison Laurent
    • Tristan G. A. Youngs
    • Lorna Dougan
    Article Open Access
  • The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is an important target for COVID-19 therapy. Here, a pair of genetically encoded BRET-based sensors for detecting Mpro activity are generated by sandwiching N-terminal autocleavage sites in between the mNeonGreen and NanoLuc proteins.

    • Anupriya M. Geethakumari
    • Wesam S. Ahmed
    • Kabir H. Biswas
    Article Open Access
  • Sustainable aviation fuels offer the opportunity to both reduce CO2 emissions and produce fuels with superior properties to conventional petroleum-based fuels. Here, the bio-based monoterpene linalool is converted into an aviation fuel mixture primarily composed of p-menthane and 2,6-dimethyloctane at moderate temperatures and pressures using a combination of Amberlyst-15 and Pd/C catalysts. The resulting fuel is demonstrated to have a higher gravimetric heat of combustion, and a lower viscosity compared to petroleum derived Jet-A.

    • C. Luke Keller
    • Karan R. Doppalapudi
    • Benjamin G. Harvey
    Article Open Access
  • Control over chemical transformations in aqueous environments employing catalytic systems whose activity can be switched on/off is challenging. Here, the authors review the switchable catalytic systems that operate in aqueous environments in response to external stimuli, such as pH, temperature, light, small molecules, electric field, magnetic field and mechanical energy.

    • Nikita Das
    • Chandan Maity
    Review Article Open Access
  • Hear from Professor Nathalie Katsonis on her academic journey and passions, her thoughts on the future directions of chemical research, and her experience of being an Editorial Board Member for Communications Chemistry.

    Q&A Open Access
  • Iron is the most abundant redox active transition metal in mineral dust, but its role in nitrogen-containing organic carbon formation remains largely unexplored. Here, the authors show that Fe(III) catalyzes the dark oxidative oligomerization of o- and p-aminophenols under simulated aerosol and cloud conditions.

    • Hind A. Al-Abadleh
    • Fatemeh Motaghedi
    • Marcelo I. Guzman
    Article Open Access
  • Practical liquid fuels involve hundreds of chemical species, making the prediction of mixture properties a key bottleneck for fuel design. Here, the authors develop an artificial intelligence framework to predict how interactions between molecules correlate with specific fuel properties and propose an optimized fuel mix.

    • Nursulu Kuzhagaliyeva
    • Samuel Horváth
    • S. Mani Sarathy
    Article Open Access
  • Pine sporopollenin harbors unique monomeric units and inter-unit linkages forming mechanically robust and chemically inert biopolymers. Here, the authors design and synthesize several sporopollenin analogues, and characterize their chemical, thermal and mechanical properties as robust polymers.

    • Christopher M. Glinkerman
    • Shaoting Lin
    • Jing-Ke Weng
    Article Open Access
  • Converting low-molecular-weight aliphatic alcohols like methanol and ethanol into value-added chemicals such as carboxylates in electrolytic cells offers low operating costs, but non-noble-metal catalysts often bring about low selectivities and overoxidation to CO2. Here, the authors report the efficient and selective electrooxidation of ethanol and methanol into acetate and formate on in-situ generated oxygen-vacancies-rich CuO nanosheets on a copper foam via ultrasonication-assisted acid-etching.

    • Mustafa Khan
    • Asima Hameed
    • Mingming Ma
    Article Open Access
  • Adiabatic state preparation (ASP) represents an efficient way of generating correlated wave functions on quantum computers for subsequent quantum simulation. Here, the author discusses recent work that numerically studied the performance of ASP on strongly correlated molecules and presented several approaches of improving the quality of prepared ground state wave functions.

    • Libor Veis
    Comment Open Access
  • Chiral benzo five-membered heterocyclic spirocyclopropanes are pharmacologically active scaffolds, but access to spiral rings with multiple stereocenters is challenging. Here, the authors report an organocatalytic one-pot cascade ether oxidation iminium-ion activation strategy for the asymmetric spirocyclopropylation of benzofuran-2-ones and indolin-2-ones with excellent enantio- and diastereoselectivity.

    • Yang Hu
    • Jie Yuan
    • Xinhong Yu
    Article Open Access
  • Thermocatalytic hydrogenation holds great promise for commercial utilization of carbon dioxide, but the process is energy-intense with high temperature and pressure requirements. Here, the authors engineer a GaN1-xOx rhodium nanoparticle catalyst for CO2 to CO hydrogenation that functions at temperatures as low as 170 °C.

    • Jinglin Li
    • Bowen Sheng
    • Baowen Zhou
    Article Open Access
  • Fragment-based drug design is an effective approach to identifying potential binders for a given target protein, but accurately capturing changes in affinity associated with a given set of chemical modifications remains challenging. Here, the authors evaluate the use of absolute binding free energy calculations in guiding fragment optimisation decisions, finding that such calculations can usefully guide fragment elaborations to maximise affinity.

    • Irfan Alibay
    • Aniket Magarkar
    • Philip Charles Biggin
    Article Open Access
  • Bottom-up nanomaterial fabrication enables control over nano building-block structure and structure-property relationships, affording opportunities to engineer devices and materials with desirable electronic and optoelectronic behaviors. Here, the authors produce stable oligophenylene dithiol cross-linked gold nanoparticle nanosheets via interfacial self-assembly and show the emergent effects of the cross-linkers on the material’s electronic, optical and photoconducting properties.

    • Steven Gravelsins
    • Myung Jin Park
    • Al-Amin Dhirani
    Article Open Access
  • Enhancing the hydrophilicity of hydrophobic molecular scaffolds allows to increase their aqueous solubility and therefore their usability for a range of applications. Here, N/O heteroatom doping of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is shown to switch the skeleton from hydrophobic to hydrophilic, enhancing aqueous solubility and facilitating self-assembly in water.

    • Kang Li
    • Jia-Min Hu
    • Yue-Peng Cai
    Article Open Access
  • Time-resolved single-crystal X-ray diffraction experiments largely focus on timescales shorter than microseconds, whereby slower population dynamics are missed. Here, the authors resolve the 3D structures of photoexcited solid-state species with millisecond-to-minute lifetimes using pump-multiprobe SCXRD.

    • Lauren E. Hatcher
    • Mark R. Warren
    • Paul R. Raithby
    Article Open Access
  • Cyclodipeptide synthases (CDPSs) generate a wide range of cyclic dipeptides using aminoacylated tRNAs as substrates, however the substrate selection mechanism is not yet known. Here, the authors investigate the substrate promiscuity of two histidine-incorporating CDPSs to generate an extensive library of products which complement the chemical realm of histidine-containing cyclic dipeptides.

    • Emmajay Sutherland
    • Christopher John Harding
    • Clarissa Melo Czekster
    Article Open Access
  • [n]cycloparaphenylenes feature extensive para-conjugation that leads to useful electronic and optoelectronic properties, but their strained topology prevents their conversion into planar macrocycles. Now, on-surface coupling of cleverly designed precursors affords planar π-extended [12]cycloparaphenylene.

    • Victoria Richards
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Pemigatinib is an FDA-approved drug for the treatment of cholangiocarcinoma, but while it is known to target fibroblast growth factor receptors, its mechanism of action is still not fully understood. Here, biochemical and structural analyses reveal that pemigatinib is a potent and selective FGFR1–3 inhibitor, and has excellent potency against the Val-to-Ile gatekeeper mutation.

    • Qianmeng Lin
    • Xiaojuan Chen
    • Yongheng Chen
    Article Open Access
  • Understanding the roles of oxygen species at reducible metal oxide surfaces is key to improving catalyst performance. Here, a combination of operando diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy and mass spectrometry are employed to explore the behaviours of oxygen species during H2 oxidation at β-MnO2 surfaces.

    • Jiacheng Xu
    • Tiantian Zhang
    • Shuiliang Yao
    Article Open Access