Focus: Actinide chemistry

A collection of articles in this Focus highlights work on uranium(VI) dianions bearing four U–N multiple bonds, berkelium(IV) stabilized in solution and delocalization in a plutonium material.

Latest Research

  • Perspective |

    Glucose-responsive insulin is a therapeutic that modulates its potency, concentration or dosing relative to a patient’s dynamic glucose concentration. This Perspective summarizes some of the recent accomplishments in this field as well as discussing new computational algorithms that may aid in the development of such therapeutics.

    • Naveed A. Bakh
    • , Abel B. Cortinas
    • , Michael A. Weiss
    • , Robert S. Langer
    • , Daniel G. Anderson
    • , Zhen Gu
    • , Sanjoy Dutta
    •  & Michael S. Strano
  • Article |

    Determining the structure­–activity relationships for complex structures can be quite challenging, but it is often the method by which many natural products are optimized for use as drugs. Now, the combination of a fluoroaryl borane catalyst, a phosphine additive and a silane reducing agent enables the late-stage selective modification of complex bioactive natural products in order to provide rapid access to a wide array of structures, and therefore functions.

    • Trandon A. Bender
    • , Philippa R. Payne
    •  & Michel R. Gagné
  • Article |

    Rationally designed arrays of hydrogen bonds between aromatic oligoamide segments have now been shown to generate abiotic helix-turn-helix and unexpected dimeric and trimeric helix bundle motifs. These structures show kinetic and thermodynamic stability, and cooperative folding in nonpolar solvents.

    • Soumen De
    • , Bo Chi
    • , Thierry Granier
    • , Ting Qi
    • , Victor Maurizot
    •  & Ivan Huc
  • Article |

    The biosynthesis of secondary metabolites such as stephacidin A and its congeners continues to intrigue both biochemists and synthetic chemists. Now, a laboratory chemical synthesis of these natural products has been achieved based on a bioinspired synthetic strategy, which may provide key insights into the possible biosynthesis of these captivating molecules.

    • Ken Mukai
    • , Danilo Pereira de Sant'Ana
    • , Yasuo Hirooka
    • , Eduardo V. Mercado-Marin
    • , David E. Stephens
    • , Kevin G. M. Kou
    • , Sven C. Richter
    • , Naomi Kelley
    •  & Richmond Sarpong
  • Article |

    Providing detailed structural descriptions of the ultrafast photochemical events that occur in light-sensitive proteins is key to their understanding. Now, excited-state structures in the reversibly switchable fluorescent protein rsEGFP2 have been solved by time-resolved crystallography using an X-ray laser. These structures enabled the design of a mutant with improved photoswitching quantum yields.

    • Nicolas Coquelle
    • , Michel Sliwa
    • , Joyce Woodhouse
    • , Giorgio Schirò
    • , Virgile Adam
    • , Andrew Aquila
    • , Thomas R. M. Barends
    • , Sébastien Boutet
    • , Martin Byrdin
    • , Sergio Carbajo
    • , Eugenio De la Mora
    • , R. Bruce Doak
    • , Mikolaj Feliks
    • , Franck Fieschi
    • , Lutz Foucar
    • , Virginia Guillon
    • , Mario Hilpert
    • , Mark S. Hunter
    • , Stefan Jakobs
    • , Jason E. Koglin
    • , Gabriela Kovacsova
    • , Thomas J. Lane
    • , Bernard Lévy
    • , Mengning Liang
    • , Karol Nass
    • , Jacqueline Ridard
    • , Joseph S. Robinson
    • , Christopher M. Roome
    • , Cyril Ruckebusch
    • , Matthew Seaberg
    • , Michel Thepaut
    • , Marco Cammarata
    • , Isabelle Demachy
    • , Martin Field
    • , Robert L. Shoeman
    • , Dominique Bourgeois
    • , Jacques-Philippe Colletier
    • , Ilme Schlichting
    •  & Martin Weik
  • Article |

    A 335 base-pair gene encoding the green fluorescent protein iLOV and an epigenetically modified variant have now been assembled by click-DNA ligation of ten functionalized oligonucleotides. The resulting fully synthetic gene contained eight triazoles at the sites of chemical ligation, yet the synthetic gene was shown to be fully biocompatible in Escherichia coli.

    • Mikiembo Kukwikila
    • , Nittaya Gale
    • , Afaf H. El-Sagheer
    • , Tom Brown
    •  & Ali Tavassoli

News & Comment

  • In Your Element |

    Dieter Ackermann explains why element 110 occupies a significant place in the superheavy corner of the periodic table.

    • Dieter Ackermann
  • News and Views |

    DNA double helical structures are supramolecular assemblies that are typically held together by classical Watson–Crick pairing. Now, nucleotide chelation of silver ions supports an extended silver–DNA hybrid duplex featuring an uninterrupted silver array.

    • Pascal Auffinger
    •  & Eric Ennifar
  • Commentary |

    The question often arises as to who may have deserved a Nobel Prize but was not awarded one. Rarely is this discussion extended to who should have received more than one Nobel Prize, but in the field of organic synthesis there are some compelling candidates.

    • Jeffrey I. Seeman
  • News and Views |

    Water is increasingly recognized as being of paramount importance in biological processes, yet its exact role remains difficult to elucidate. Now, the motion of water molecules within and around a synthetic peptide-amphiphile nanofibre has been precisely determined, showing significant differences between its core and surface.

    • Yoshimitsu Itoh
    •  & Takuzo Aida
  • News and Views |

    Ejecting electrons from negative ions using light can create structures that very closely resemble the transition states of bimolecular reactions. Now, using this technique, trapped quantum states, or 'resonances', have been observed in a seven-atom reaction, and theory has been shown to be up to the task of capturing such complex phenomena.

    • Robert E. Continetti
  • Editorial |

    Our understanding of actinide chemistry lags behind that of the rest of the periodic table. A collection of articles in this issue highlights recent progress featuring uranium(VI) dianions bearing four U–N multiple bonds, berkelium(IV) stabilized in solution and delocalization of 5f electrons in a plutonium material.

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