Biomimetic chemistry: DNA mimic outwits viral enzyme

These are representations of a B-DNA double helix and a single helical foldamer mimic. Credit: Ivan Huc, LMU Not only can synthetic molecules mimic the structures of their biological models, they can also take on their functions and may even successfully compete with them, as an artificial DNA sequence designed by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich […]

Titanium complex converts methane to alkenes at room temperature

New work illustrates the ‘crucial steps’ required for a process to make useful chemical feedstocks from methane   Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry Room temperature olefination of methane with titanium–carbon multiple bonds Researchers in the US and South Korea have developed way to convert methane into alkenes at room temperature. Such a process could […]

A reluctant chemist

In August 1914 a million Frenchmen were called to arms. Among them was a 43 year old professor, restored to the rank he had held many years earlier during his compulsory military service. Corporal Grignard spent the early months of the first world war on routine guard duties, until the army realised that a world-class […]

Bacteria churn out a million potential protein drugs

By Katrina Krämer With the help of a cyanobacterium enzyme that cyclises short protein strands, researchers have transformed Escherichia coli into tiny factories that produced a million different macrocyclic proteins – compounds that might be able to tackle diseases such as HIV. Most small molecule drugs inhibit proteins by binding to their active sites in […]

Longest carbon–carbon bond yet pushes chemistry to its limits

The longest ever carbon–carbon bond has been created by researchers in Japan.1 At more than 1.8Å, this bond is longer than the maximum possible bond length calculated for certain alkanes and longer than the shortest non-bonding distance2 between two carbon atoms. ‘Looking for structures with particularly long or short bonds is telling us much about […]

Cyclopropanation catalysis opens door to greener chemistry

Source: © American Chemical Society Haem proteins were engineered to enable them to carry out a cyclopropanation reaction never carried out by an enzyme before. Unactivated alkenes have been transformed into four stereoisomers of cyclopropane by a group of enzymes – the first example of a biocatalytic reaction performed by haem proteins that does not […]