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Volume 6 Issue 1, January 2023

Antibiotic at work

Albicidin is an antibiotic exhibiting features that are sought-after in the fight against multidrug-resistant bacteria. Here, Jonathan G. Heddle, Roderich D. Süssmuth and Dmitry Ghilarov uncover the mechanism of action of this antibiotic inhibiting its target bacterial DNA gyrase, and present atomic-level details of the interaction via cryogenic electron microscopy studies.

See Michalczyk et al.

Image Credit: Alina Kurokhtina. Cover design: Marina Spence.


  • As Nature Catalysis celebrates its fifth anniversary we reflect on some of the salient features of the journal up to this point.



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Research Highlights

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  • Despite great progress in electrocatalytic CO2 reduction on Cu-based materials, the selectivity for methanol has remained elusive in contrast to thermocatalytic routes. Here, using Cu2NCN with polarized Cu atoms as the cathode, selectivity of up to 70% for methanol is achieved by favouring cleavage of Cu–O over O–C in the crucial Cu–*O–CH3 intermediate.

    • Shuyi Kong
    • Ximeng Lv
    • Fuqiang Huang
  • Hydrogenolysis of unactivated C(aryl)–C(alkyl) bonds is a challenging task even in the presence of metal catalysts. Now, an approach using a boron catalyst is described that facilitates the hydrogenolysis of alkylarenes under mild conditions, and its utility is demonstrated by degrading polystyrene waste into benzene and phenylalkanes.

    • Yuliang Xu
    • Yizhou Yang
    • Huadong Wang
  • Renilla luciferase is a popular bioluminescent enzyme, but the molecular details of its mechanism of action on luciferins such as coelenterazine remained elusive. Now, protein crystal structures and biochemical analyses provide an atomistic description of its catalytic mechanism.

    • Andrea Schenkmayerova
    • Martin Toul
    • Martin Marek
  • Insights on the mechanistic differences between artificial metalloenzymes (ArMs) with non-native metal centres and the free cofactor or natural enzymes are scarce. Now, a detailed mechanistic analysis of a cyclopropanation reaction catalysed by such an ArM is provided, revealing intriguing differences to the natural system.

    • Brandon J. Bloomer
    • Sean N. Natoli
    • John F. Hartwig
  • Albicidin is a peptide antibiotic that has shown great promise for inhibiting DNA topoisomerase of fluoroquinolone-resistant Gram-negative pathogens, but its mode of action is not fully clear. Now, cryoelectron microscopy structures of albicidin–gyrase complexes provide detailed insights into the mechanism of this natural product.

    • Elizabeth Michalczyk
    • Kay Hommernick
    • Dmitry Ghilarov
    Article Open Access
  • Placing extra-framework aluminium species in the proximity of Brønsted acid sites is one of the most effective ways of tuning the energetics of zeolite-catalysed reactions. Here, using pentane cracking as an example, the authors show that grafting extra-framework silica species instead represents a valuable alternative way to modulate zeolite acitivty.

    • Ruixue Zhao
    • Rachit Khare
    • Johannes A. Lercher
  • The overall water splitting performance of semiconductor photocatalysts is often limited by recombination reactions occurring at the surface of metallic co-catalysts. Here, the authors demonstrate how the controlled deposition of aluminium oxide species on a Rh co-catalyst can strongly inhibit this phenomenon and enhance the performance of GaN–ZnO photocatalyst.

    • Zheng Li
    • Rengui Li
    • Can Li
  • Biocatalytic methods to access thioesters, such as acyl-coenzyme A, from carboxylic acids are underdeveloped. Now, it is shown that the adenylation domain of a carboxylic acid reductase enzyme can be exploited as a promiscuous thioester synthetase and combination with acyltransferases facilitates the synthesis of amides and peptide labelling.

    • Christian Schnepel
    • Laura Rodríguez Pérez
    • Sabine L. Flitsch
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Amendments & Corrections

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