Image: Jean-Paul Rodriguez; Design: Rachael Tremlett

Cellular staining

Click chemistry enables efficient labelling of small molecules in cells, providing powerful methods to visualize almost any biologically active compound.

Latest Reviews

  • Review Article |

    Surface plasmons can redistribute photoenergy over different time, space and energy scales and have been exploited in new spectroscopic techniques. This Review reports on how surface plasmons can also drive chemical reactions by localizing photon, electronic and/or thermal energies.

    • Chao Zhan
    • , Xue-Jiao Chen
    • , Jun Yi
    • , Jian-Feng Li
    • , De-Yin Wu
    •  & Zhong-Qun Tian
  • Perspective |

    This Perspective describes how reversible catalysis — a hallmark of enzymes — can be reproduced in synthetic catalysts by rationally designing first and second coordination spheres, as well as amino acid-based outer coordination spheres. We describe this in the context of Ni prototypes for efficient H2 oxidation and evolution.

    • Arnab Dutta
    • , Aaron M. Appel
    •  & Wendy J. Shaw
  • Perspective |

    The study of [FeFe]-hydrogenases exemplifies how one can manipulate even sophisticated metal clusters to afford insights into structure–function relationships of biological catalysts. This Perspective describes developments in designing artificial proteins and catalytically active nucleic acids towards minimalistic and robust semi-biological catalysts for chemical synthesis.

    • Anja Hemschemeier
    •  & Thomas Happe
  • Review Article |

    Click chemistry enables efficient chemical labelling of small molecules in cells, providing a powerful method to visualize almost any biologically active compound. This versatile methodology can provide valuable information about the mechanisms of action of small molecules in various biological settings.

    • Tatiana Cañeque
    • , Sebastian Müller
    •  & Raphaël Rodriguez
  • Perspective |

    The discovery of bioactive small molecules is generally driven via iterative design–make–purify–test cycles. Progress has been made towards the automation and integration of adjacent stages within such discovery workflows, which can increase the efficiency and effectiveness of bioactive small-molecule discovery.

    • Shiao Chow
    • , Samuel Liver
    •  & Adam Nelson
  • Review Article |

    Semiconducting quantum dots (QDs) can serve as light-absorbing components in efficient artificial photosynthetic systems for H2 evolution. This Review describes how we can optimize QDs for H2 evolution using sacrificial reductants, before moving on to sustainable strategies for the photolysis of biomass or H2O.

    • Xu-Bing Li
    • , Chen-Ho Tung
    •  & Li-Zhu Wu

News & Comment

  • Editorial |

    Enzymes can serve as blueprints for artificial catalysts, the preparation of which may involve anything from biosynthesis of mutants to chemical synthesis of active site mimics.

  • In the Classroom |

    Threshold concepts are the tricky ideas that underpin so much knowledge. In teaching them, it is important to recognize that a correct answer is not necessarily evidence of understanding.

    • Niki Kaiser
  • Research Highlight |

    A total synthesis of xishacorene B starts from a chiral pool molecule and exploits a C–C activation reaction to form the core structure.

    • Stephen G. Davey
  • Research Highlight |

    Water–surface interactions are strongly influenced by the polar or non-polar nature of the chemical groups on the surface. Jacob Monroe and Scott Shell used molecular dynamics simulations and genetic algorithms to show that the specific patterns of such functionalities effect water dynamics.

    • Gabriella Graziano
  • Research Highlight |

    Iridium chelates are attractive catalysts for asymmetric transfer hydrogenation. The mode through which a chelating ligand binds iridium turns out to have a striking effect on catalytic activity and enantioselectivity.

    • Andrew Bissette
  • Research Highlight |

    A team of French and UK researchers have used DNA to template a key photocatalysed cycloaddition reaction in the total synthesis of a marine natural product.

    • Stephen G. Davey


Electrocatalysis for fuels

David Schilter/Rachael Tremlett

Electrocatalysis for fuels

Efficient redox catalysis offers an important avenue in using renewable energy to process fuels. To this end, efforts in homogeneous, heterogeneous and microbial catalysis may each advance our fundamental understanding and technological capabilities.

David Schilter