Volume 1 Issue 10, October 2017

Volume 1 Issue 10

Cascade reactions rapidly generate molecular complexity from simple starting materials. The high reactivity of radicals generated by single electron transfer makes them ideal intermediates in the design of such reactions. Shown here are the simplified structures of radical intermediates in the synthesis of pleuromutulin triggered by single electron transfer from a samarium(II) catalyst.

See Plesniak, M. P., Huang, H.-M. & Procter, D. J. Nat. Rev. Chem. 1, 0077 (2017).

Image and design: Rachael Tremlett

Research Highlights


  • Comment |

    A bioeconomy — that is, an economy in which fuels, chemicals and other products are sourced from biomass — can contribute to a sustainable and prosperous future. Realizing a bioeconomy will necessitate new methods for processing the complex structure of biomass to produce commodity chemicals. Many exciting opportunities are availing themselves to chemists brave enough to tackle this challenging problem.

    • Nichole D. Fitzgerald


Reviews and Perspectives

  • Review Article |

    This Review considers cascade reactions initiated by single electron transfer. Open-shell intermediates are highly reactive but undergo reactions with high selectivity. They are thus ideal intermediates in cascade reactions that generate complex, high-value products from simple starting materials

    • Mateusz P. Plesniak
    • , Huan-Ming Huang
    •  & David J. Procter
  • Review Article |

    Owing to their programmable ability to cut specific nucleic acid sequences, CRISPR–Cas systems have been used for precise genome engineering. In this Review, the authors discuss the chemistry and molecular mechanisms of interference by single-effector CRISPR–Cas proteins.

    • Janice S. Chen
    •  & Jennifer A. Doudna


  • Review Article |

    Aptamers are nucleic acid molecules that can be evolved to bind to specific molecular targets and have found applications in technologies such as sensors and actuators. This Review provides a critical analysis of the first 25 years of aptamer research.

    • Matthew R. Dunn
    • , Randi M. Jimenez
    •  & John C. Chaput
  • Perspective |

    The unusual electronic characteristics of boron atoms lead boron clusters to adopt a wide variety of structural arrangements, most of which are 2D. This Perspective discusses the possibility of expanding the range of boron-based 2D structures by metal doping, as well as the use of the resulting clusters for conceptualizing metalloborophenes.

    • Wan-Lu Li
    • , Xin Chen
    • , Tian Jian
    • , Teng-Teng Chen
    • , Jun Li
    •  & Lai-Sheng Wang