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  • Thermal generation of free carbenes with 100% atom economy is rare. Now, it has been shown that this can be achieved by the net [3+2] cycloaddition between many classes of 2-alkynyl iminoheterocycles and electrophilic alkynes. Together with a host of carbene trapping reactions, this method provides facile and versatile access to diverse heterocycle scaffolds.

    • Qian Xu
    • Thomas R. Hoye
  • Nitrogen-rich Ruddlesden–Popper nitrides are notoriously difficult to stabilize. Now a high-pressure high-temperature synthesis method has enabled the preparation of Pr2ReN4, Nd2ReN4 and Ce2TaN4. Neutron diffraction analysis reveals fully nitrided materials and intricate magnetic structures.

    • M. Weidemann
    • D. Werhahn
    • Simon D. Kloß
  • Hydroxyl radicals are reactive species capable of water purification and disinfection, although their generation, particularly through renewable approaches, is challenging. Now, low-valent Au on potassium-incorporated carbon nitride has been shown to produce hydroxyl radicals upon solar illumination and to provide high water disinfection rates.

    • Zhenyuan Teng
    • Hongbin Yang
    • Bin Liu
  • Whereas bonds that strengthen under mechanical stress occur frequently in nature, all synthetic bonds weaken under force. Now, an artificial supramolecular catch bond has been shown to strengthen the particle–surface interface under increasing shear flow in a rolling adhesion assay, thereby mimicking biological adhesion processes.

    • Martijn van Galen
    • Annemarie Bok
    • Joris Sprakel
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Global antibiotic scarcity looms owing to bacterial resistance. Now the discovery of a class of allosteric inhibitors targeting DNA gyrase—essential for bacteria—yields a compound LEI-800 that exhibits activity against fluoroquinolone-resistant E. coli. The compound’s unique mode of action, revealed through cryo-EM, makes it a promising candidate for countering bacterial resistance.

    • Alexander T. Bakker
    • Ioli Kotsogianni
    • Mario van der Stelt
    ArticleOpen Access
  • The mechanistic details of entangled triplet pair formation in organic materials have been debated over the past decade. Now, the concept of coherent triplet pair formation is revived using a library of pentacene derivatives, invoking charge resonance mixing as a material design principle for harnessing the effect.

    • Juno Kim
    • David C. Bain
    • Andrew J. Musser
  • 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
  • Due to their challenging isolation, stannynes are underexplored and poorly understood. Now, a stannyne has been synthesized and isolated at room temperature using a bulky cyclic phosphino ligand, and it has been shown to exhibit the reactivity characteristics of carbenes, stannylenes and carbon–tin multiply bonded compounds.

    • Xin-Feng Wang
    • Chaopeng Hu
    • Liu Leo Liu
  • Constructing artificial structures that can imitate complex topological transformation with sophisticated functions is challenging. Now, using topological operations involving ‘glue–cut’ processes, the global conformational change of topology-programmed DNA origami has been demonstrated. The reconfigurable DNA origami system developed here can encode signal propagation at the nanoscale.

    • Wei Ji
    • Xiewei Xiong
    • Hao Pei
  • 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
  • Organic photoredox catalysts enable diverse chemical transformations, but predicting their activity is challenging due to complex properties. Now, a two-step data-driven approach is introduced for targeted organic photoredox catalysts synthesis and reaction optimization. Using Bayesian optimization, promising catalysts can be efficiently identified, yielding competitive results with iridium catalysts.

    • Xiaobo Li
    • Yu Che
    • Andrew I. Cooper
    ArticleOpen Access
  • Standard DNA is limited by low information density and functional diversity. Now it has been shown that an expanded genetic alphabet—incorporating a synthetic nucleotide, dZ—allows for the creation of stable three-dimensional DNA structures under mild alkaline conditions. Such stable structures enrich our understanding of DNA’s structural diversity and its potential in synthetic biology applications.

    • Bang Wang
    • James R. Rocca
    • Steven A. Benner
    ArticleOpen Access
  • In the original Maxwell’s demon thought experiment, a potential gradient of particles between two neighbouring compartments is created without the apparent use of work. Now a functional example of this experiment where material is pumped over centimetres has been reported—o-fluoroazobenzene is transported unidirectionally under light stimulation between two arms of a U-tube across an aqueous layer containing coordination cages.

    • Jiratheep Pruchyathamkorn
    • Bao-Nguyen T. Nguyen
    • Jonathan R. Nitschke
    ArticleOpen Access
  • 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
  • The presence of halogens in halogenated organic pollutants has negative impacts on the environment; however, they serve as valuable sources for halogenation reactions. Now it has been shown that transfer chlorination reactions enable the repurposing of halogenated organic pollutants for the synthesis of chlorides and bromides.

    • Heng Liu
    • Ding-Wei Ji
    • Qing-An Chen
  • Deciphering the sulfation and sialylation codes of ganglioside glycans is impeded by the limited accessibility of well-defined structures. Now, an integrated chemoenzymatic strategy has been developed for efficient synthesis of a comprehensive 65-membered ganglioside glycan library, enabling an extensive exploration into their structure–function relationships using glycan microarray technology.

    • Zhuojia Xu
    • Yating Liu
    • Tiehai Li
  • 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
  • Chemical probes that selectively react with histidine could afford functional insight for those located in vital protein regions, but the moderate nucleophilicity of histidine and interference from other residues pose challenges. A singlet oxygen and chemical probe relay labelling approach demonstrates high selectivity, enabling comprehensive histidine profiling and providing crucial functional insights.

    • Yansheng Zhai
    • Xinyu Zhang
    • Gang Li
  • Posttranslational modifications alter the structure and function of proteins. Now, genetic code expansion enables encoding of ε-N-succinyllysine and ε-N-glutaryllysine residues to decipher the effects of these modifications on enzymatic activity, protein–protein interactions and protein–DNA interactions.

    • Daniela Danková
    • Christian A. Olsen
    News & Views