Volume 8 Issue 11, November 2016

Volume 8 Issue 11

Just like the fish shown on the cover of this issue, tessellation with simple shapes can cover large surfaces. Recognizing that triple-helical self-assembly can be thought of as a tiling problem, Ronald T. Raines and co-workers have now demonstrated that collagen-mimetic peptide tiles can be assembled into triple helices with perfect symmetry to form synthetic collagen nanofibres that are nearly a micrometre in length.Article p1008IMAGE: H. ADAM STEINBERGCOVER DESIGN: KAREN MOORE


  • Editorial |

    Taking chemical technology from the bench to the consumer is a formidable challenge, but it is how research can ultimately benefit wider society. Companies are now beginning to incorporate metal–organic frameworks into commercial products, heralding a new era for the field.


  • Thesis |

    Researchers should spend more time doing science than cataloguing every last detail about how they get it done, argues Bruce Gibb.

    • Bruce Gibb


  • Interview |

    Omar Farha (Chief Science Officer & technical founder) and Ben Hernandez (Chief Executive Officer) of NuMat Technologies, talk to Nature Chemistry about the release of one of the first MOF-based commercial products and the challenges the journey posed.

    • Thomas Faust

News and Views


  • Review Article |

    Biological drugs can offer high potency and selectivity; however, this class of therapeutics often shows poor stability upon oral administration and during subsequent circulation. This Review highlights the materials and methods used to deliver biological drugs, and discusses how these approaches can improve their pharmacokinetics.

    • Alexander N. Zelikin
    • , Carsten Ehrhardt
    •  & Anne Marie Healy


  • Article |

    Natural collagen contains triple helices that are approximately 1,000 residues in length and cannot be formed by chemical synthesis. Now, short collagen-mimetic peptides that self-assemble into three-stranded helices have been designed. These peptides are inspired by the mathematics of tessellations, and the triple helices formed via this approach match or exceed the length of those found in natural collagen.

    • I. Caglar Tanrikulu
    • , Audrey Forticaux
    • , Song Jin
    •  & Ronald T. Raines
  • Article |

    Charge transfer in DNA is of fundamental interest in chemistry and biochemistry and has possible applications in nano-electronics. Now it has been shown, through a combined experimental and theoretical study, that the migration of positive charges through low-lying orbitals of nucleobases (deep-hole transfer) leads to charge transfer that is faster than previously considered transport regimes.

    • Nicolas Renaud
    • , Michelle A. Harris
    • , Arunoday P. N. Singh
    • , Yuri A. Berlin
    • , Mark A. Ratner
    • , Michael R. Wasielewski
    • , Frederick D. Lewis
    •  & Ferdinand C. Grozema
  • Article |

    Vinylidene, (H2C=C), is a short-lived structural isomer of acetylene. By employing bulky and strongly electron-donating boryl co-ligands, the synthesis of an analogous group 14 vinylidene compound is reported. The digermavinylidene, {(HCDippN)2B}2GeGe, (where Dipp = 2,6-iPr2C6H3), is synthesized via oxidation of the corresponding symmetrical Ge0 compound K2[(boryl)GeGe(boryl)].

    • Arnab Rit
    • , Jesús Campos
    • , Haoyu Niu
    •  & Simon Aldridge
  • Article |

    A generally applicable small-molecule switch for protein function in live cells has been developed based on selective protein protection using unnatural amino acid mutagenesis and a bioorthogonal deprotection via Staudinger reduction.

    • Ji Luo
    • , Qingyang Liu
    • , Kunihiko Morihiro
    •  & Alexander Deiters
  • Article |

    G proteins are the key mediators of G protein-coupled receptor signalling, facilitating a number of important physiological processes. Now, the total synthesis and structure–activity relationship studies have been reported for the only known selective Gq protein inhibitors, the natural cyclic depsipeptides YM-254890 and FR900359.

    • Xiao-Feng Xiong
    • , Hang Zhang
    • , Christina R. Underwood
    • , Kasper Harpsøe
    • , Thomas J. Gardella
    • , Mie F. Wöldike
    • , Michael Mannstadt
    • , David E. Gloriam
    • , Hans Bräuner-Osborne
    •  & Kristian Strømgaard
  • Article |

    Spectral broadening generally conceals the signatures of rotational and translational motion in solution-phase spectra. Now, using highly inert perfluorocarbon solvents, spectral broadening has been minimized allowing the translational, rotational and vibrational relaxation dynamics of highly excited CN solute molecules to be observed simultaneously.

    • Michael P. Grubb
    • , Philip M. Coulter
    • , Hugo J. B. Marroux
    • , Balazs Hornung
    • , Ryan S. McMullen
    • , Andrew J. Orr-Ewing
    •  & Michael N. R. Ashfold
  • Article |

    By simply deprotonating a neutral hydrogen-bond donor thiourea it is possible to generate a class of highly efficient and tunable thioimidates that can simultaneously activate a pro-nucleophile and an electrophile. These bifunctional thioimidates exhibit fast kinetics and high selectivity for ring-opening polymerizations of cyclic lactones and carbonates.

    • Xiangyi Zhang
    • , Gavin O. Jones
    • , James L. Hedrick
    •  & Robert M. Waymouth
  • Article |

    [NiFe] hydrogenases are enzymes containing nickel and iron centres that catalyse hydrogen evolution with performances that rival those of platinum catalysts. Now, a NiFe model complex has been reported that mimics the structure and the Ni-centred hydrogen evolution activity found at the active site of [NiFe] hydrogenases.

    • Deborah Brazzolotto
    • , Marcello Gennari
    • , Nicolas Queyriaux
    • , Trevor R. Simmons
    • , Jacques Pécaut
    • , Serhiy Demeshko
    • , Franc Meyer
    • , Maylis Orio
    • , Vincent Artero
    •  & Carole Duboc
  • Article |

    Photoexcited holes in CdS nanocrystals rapidly trap to the surface and although they are integral to nanocrystal photophysics and photochemistry, their dynamics have remained elusive. Time-resolved spectroscopy and theoretical modelling have now revealed that trapped holes in CdS nanorods are mobile and undergo a random walk on the nanocrystal surface.

    • James K. Utterback
    • , Amanda N. Grennell
    • , Molly B. Wilker
    • , Orion M. Pearce
    • , Joel D. Eaves
    •  & Gordana Dukovic
  • Article |

    The staged hydrolysis of N-methylimidodiacetic (MIDA) boronates is a prerequisite for their application in small-molecule constructions. Mechanistic studies now show that two distinct hydrolysis mechanisms operate in parallel, the partitioning — which is dependent on the pH, water activity and homogeneity of the medium — can be readily quantified by 18O incorporation.

    • Jorge A. Gonzalez
    • , O. Maduka Ogba
    • , Gregory F. Morehouse
    • , Nicholas Rosson
    • , Kendall N. Houk
    • , Andrew G. Leach
    • , Paul H.-Y. Cheong
    • , Martin D. Burke
    •  & Guy C. Lloyd-Jones
  • Article |

    A motif was identified in the scaffold of an (S)-selective transaminase that enables the asymmetric synthesis of bulky chiral amines. This motif is transferable to other enzymes with as low as 70% sequence identity. The biocatalysts developed show high stereoselectivity and their synthetic potential was confirmed in preparative scale synthesis.

    • Ioannis V. Pavlidis
    • , Martin S. Weiß
    • , Maika Genz
    • , Paul Spurr
    • , Steven P. Hanlon
    • , Beat Wirz
    • , Hans Iding
    •  & Uwe T. Bornscheuer

In Your Element

  • In Your Element |

    Naturally scarce but synthetically accessible, Gauthier J.-P. Deblonde and Rebecca J. Abergel discuss element 89 and its emergence as a candidate radio-theranostic metal for cancer treatment.

    • Gauthier J.-P. Deblonde
    •  & Rebecca J. Abergel