Research Highlights

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  • Small changes in protein structure can have pronounced effects on protein–protein interactions, but quantifying this has only recently become possible. Now, the binding landscapes of three homologous enzyme–inhibitor complexes are quantified and shown to depend on whether the inhibitor binds its natural target or a structurally similar protein.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Understanding heat conduction in solids is fundamental to the design of high-performing thermoelectric materials. Now, a combined computational and experimental study shows how local order paired with long-range disorder leads to a desirable reduction in thermal conductivity while retaining high electron mobility in the Zintl phase Eu2ZnSb2.

    • Teresa S. Ortner
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • DNA-templated synthesis of chiral inorganic assemblies often requires chemical modification of the template. Now, a route exploiting the native chemistry of unmodified DNA origami templates provides access to 3D chiral assemblies.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Lewis acid additives such as aluminium can enable fascinating new reactivity in transition metal catalysts, but few catalytic intermediates have been characterised. Now, a nickel-aluminium pincer complex offers new mechanistic insight into transmetalation, and new potential for reactivity.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Lithium-ion batteries suffer from declining performance when the electrolyte decomposes. Now, low-dosage cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) visualizes how the common solid electrolyte interface component lithium carbonate decomposes and how additives stabilize the interface.

    • Teresa S. Ortner
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Contact freezing of water is a very fast and common process that is still not well understood due to challenges in probing this microscopic phenomenon. Now, molecular dynamics simulations help to explain experimental data of contact freezing, showing a connection between water’s suspected propensity to undergo surface freezing and the kinetic enhancement during contact nucleation.

    • Teresa S. Ortner
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Molecular replication could offer insight into the fundamentals of evolution, but achieving controlled mutation is difficult. Now, a synthetic replicator that allows for simple control over its mutation rate has been reported.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Controlling molecular conformation through macroscopic mechanical stimulus may have applications in chiroptical devices, but achieving this in a 3D material is challenging. Now, a quantitative relationship between stretching of an elastomer and reversible conformational changes of a crosslinked molecule has been established.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Organic materials are highly sensitive to electron beam irradiation and thus easily damaged upon imaging by electron microscopy. Now, low-dose aberration-corrected high resolution transmission electron microscopy allows for less invasive near-atomic-scale imaging of a two-dimensional polymer.

    • Victoria Richards
    Research Highlight Open Access
  • Mass spectrometry allows the pattern of glycosylation in proteins to be mapped, but can be limited by the lability of glycosidic bonds. Now, a method exploiting this lability allows for direct mapping of glycan moieties in glycoproteins.

    • Andrew J. Bissette
    Research Highlight Open Access