Artistic impression of a biomolecular condensate for which a quarter of its surface is drawn up at a higher resolution to depict the texture of the droplet's transition to a state or aggregation

Read our July issue

This month, the issue focuses on phase separation, including an editorial and a Q&A on the progress and future of the field, along with a mix of articles and an In Your Element on pink medicines.

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    The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus and Alexei I. Ekimov for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots. In recognition of this award, Nature Portfolio presents a collection of research, review and opinion articles that highlight the development of quantum dots over the past three decades.

  • A lab with robotic arms carrying out experiments

    The combination of techniques such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation can be used to accelerate chemical and materials synthesis. This Focus issue showcases developments in the automation and digitalization of synthesis, as well as highlights the challenges to be overcome in this area.

  • A petrochemical refinery located at the edge of a body of water illuminates the surroundings with its many bright lights at night

    Nature Chemical Engineering is open for submissions. The journal will cover a broad range of systems and scales that significantly advance fundamental research, aid product and process development and explore new technological solutions, all in the context of core chemical engineering approaches. It will publish research, reviews and opinion articles.

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  • Molecular geometry can influence chemical reactivity through several opposing effects. By selecting individual conformers of hydroquinone in the chemi-ionization reaction with metastable neon, it is now shown that reaction pathways can be governed by molecular alignment due to geometry-dependent forces that are, however, countered by molecular rotation.

    • L. Ploenes
    • P. Straňák
    • S. Willitsch
    Article
  • Lysine ubiquitination, catalysed by E3 ubiquitin ligases, is pivotal for regulating protein stability and cell signalling. Using protein semisynthesis, the roles of the C-terminal carboxylate and conformational interconversion in HECT-domain E3 catalysis are now characterized, revealing evolutionary plasticity in side chain versus backbone utilization.

    • Hanjie Jiang
    • Bryant D. Miller
    • Philip A. Cole
    Article
  • Although natural terpenoid cyclases generate polycyclic structures through cationic intermediates, alternative radical cyclization pathways are underexplored. Now an artificial radical cyclase has been prepared by anchoring a biotinylated cobalt Schiff-base complex within a chimeric streptavidin scaffold. Chemogenetic optimization of the catalytic performance affords enantioenriched terpenoids via a metal-catalysed H-atom transfer mechanism.

    • Dongping Chen
    • Xiang Zhang
    • Thomas R. Ward
    Article
  • Weaving purely organic molecular threads into two-dimensional patterns remains a formidable challenge. Now, driven by the formation of dative B–N bonds, a purely organic, two-dimensional and flawless woven polymer network has been prepared. In addition, free-standing monolayers of woven polymer nanosheets have been obtained through mechanical exfoliation.

    • Ding Xiao
    • Zhitong Jin
    • Feihe Huang
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Selection mechanisms were critical at the emergence of life and will also be important for the synthesis of life. Now, it has been shown that template-based copying controls the selection of unstable molecules in a chemically fuelled dynamic combinatorial library. Moreover, when encapsulated inside coacervate droplets, these mechanisms change the coacervate’s physical properties.

    • Christine M. E. Kriebisch
    • Ludwig Burger
    • Job Boekhoven
    ArticleOpen Access
  • The mechanism of collagen heterotrimer folding is difficult to recapitulate synthetically. Now an ABC collagen mimetic heterotrimer has been designed that employs pairwise amino acid interactions, validated by X-ray crystallography, to promote composition- and register-specific assembly. The high specificity of its assembly leads to an increased rate of folding compared with similar collagen heterotrimers.

    • Carson C. Cole
    • Douglas R. Walker
    • Jeffrey D. Hartgerink
    Article
    • The electrochemical double layer dictates how many energy conversion and storage technologies operate, but such interfacial systems are challenging to examine. Now, Schreier and colleagues have developed a way to correlate variations in the electrochemical double layer with audible frequency changes to afford real-time ‘audiolization’ of molecular movements.

      • Adam Weingarten
      News & Views
    • Compounds containing metal–metal bonds can provide fresh insights into electronic structure and bonding, and their synthesis can open up new chemical space. A sandwich complex containing a lithium–aluminium bond has now delivered some food for thought in this arena.

      • David P. Mills
      News & Views
    • Carbenes are reactive intermediates that undergo many useful transformations yet are typically accessed via functionalized precursors and often require additives. Now, shelf-stable alkynes have been used to generate metal-free carbenes in an additive- and by-product-free method that rapidly affords diverse heterocyclic frameworks.

      • Khushal Siddiq
      • Christopher R. Jones
      News & Views
    • The Be–Be bond has long represented a ‘missing link’ between the H–H bond of dihydrogen and the B–B bond of diborane(4) species. Now, a complex with a polarized Be–Be bond that acts as a source of the beryllyl anion is reported. This work also reveals similarities between the homo-elemental linkages of boron and beryllium.

      Research Briefing
    • The optimization of chemical reactions can be laborious, particularly in the case of complex, multicomponent catalytic cycles. Now, it is shown that Bayesian optimization methods, underpinned by explainable computational physical models, can guide chemists to discover efficient organic molecular metallophotocatalyst formulations, avoiding the use of precious metals such as iridium.

      Research Briefing
  • In this issue we feature several articles that explore advances in the study of phase separation. They highlight some recently reported mechanistic features and progress in the methodology used to study it within cells, and they delve into the implications that phase separation has for select cellular functions.

    Editorial
  • A. Ken Inge pores over the history and applications of bismuth subsalicylate, from dispelling digestive distress to breaching bacterial biodefences.

    • A. Ken Inge
    In Your Element
  • In molecular biology, few molecules have had as profound an impact as Cas9. Madeleine King, Kayla Perry, Mitchell McAndrew and Audrone Lapinaite discuss how this multifunctional molecular tool of genetic engineering is revolutionizing multiple fields.

    • Madeleine B. King
    • Kayla N. Perry
    • Audrone Lapinaite
    In Your Element
  • Environmental contamination is in the news more than ever. Shira Joudan introduces key concepts to talk about what happens to chemicals in the environment and what chemists should consider in their day-to-day lives, both at work and at home.

    • Shira Joudan
    Thesis
  • John Steele and Stephen Wallace discuss recent advances in the chemical and biotechnological synthesis of the prolific platform chemical adipic acid.

    • John F. C. Steele
    • Stephen Wallace
    In Your Element

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