Reviews & Analysis

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  • Catalysts based on rotaxanes and catenanes are receiving increased attention, driven by high-profile examples with desirable properties. We survey this emerging field organized by the effect of mechanical bonding on activity, chemoselectivity and stereoselectivity to inspire future investigations and applications.

    • Andrew W. Heard
    • Jorge Meijide Suárez
    • Stephen M. Goldup
    Review Article
  • Protein functionalities rely strongly on their specific chemical and spatial structure. This Review dives into the hyphenation of native separation techniques with mass spectrometry to study protein (higher order) structure and functionality.

    • Guusje van Schaick
    • Rob Haselberg
    • Elena Domínguez-Vega
    Review Article
  • Sulfonyl fluorides are highly electrophilic and yet they exhibit stability towards hydrolysis under physiological conditions. This unique combination makes them highly attractive in chemical biology. This Review looks at the emerging synthetic approaches and applications for this intriguing functional group.

    • Terry Shing-Bong Lou
    • Michael C. Willis
    Review Article
  • The chiral arrangement of inorganic nanoparticles brings new properties and functionalities that are distinct compared with the individual building blocks. This Review discusses the recent progress in the preparation, properties and emerging applications of self-assembled inorganic chiral superstructures.

    • Jiawei Lv
    • Xiaoqing Gao
    • Zhiyong Tang
    Review Article
  • Natural products and their synthesis have always fascinated organic chemists, frequently providing the inspiration and testing ground for new synthetic methods. This Review considers examples of natural products that were prepared first synthetically and predicted to be natural products prior to their isolation from nature.

    • Belinda E. Hetzler
    • Dirk Trauner
    • Andrew L. Lawrence
    Review Article
  • Heterogeneous catalysis is a diverse and highly interdisciplinary field in chemistry, which is essential in our modern society. This Review highlights how understanding the active site in catalysts will help in their rational design — an essential step in a transition to renewable energy and a circular economy.

    • Charlotte Vogt
    • Bert M. Weckhuysen
    Review Article
  • In two seminal papers published 25 years ago, Phillips and Remington reported the structure of the green fluorescent protein (GFP). These studies provided a blueprint for the rational engineering of GFP, catalysing efforts that produced a large and growing collection of fluorescent proteins and indicators of cellular activity.

    • Jihwan Lee
    • François St-Pierre
    News & Views
  • In this Perspective, a vision of a fully reconfigurable microfluidic device that can change its shape and function dynamically is outlined. Reconfigurable microfluidic platforms can enable new functionalities, which have the potential to go beyond the reach of current lab-on-a-chip systems.

    • Federico Paratore
    • Vesna Bacheva
    • Govind V. Kaigala
  • The activity of proteins can be controlled with azobenzene-based photoswitches. This Review describes the design of such artificial protein constructs and how their phototriggered, non-equilibrium response is studied using transient infrared spectroscopy, with an emphasis on ligand binding and unbinding processes as well as allosteric signalling.

    • Olga Bozovic
    • Brankica Jankovic
    • Peter Hamm
    Review Article
  • This Review describes the de novo design of metalloproteins, which perform numerous functions essential to life. By understanding the relationship between the symmetry of the protein structure and the metal active site, we can design novel, functional metalloproteins from scratch.

    • Matthew J. Chalkley
    • Samuel I. Mann
    • William F. DeGrado
    Review Article
  • The study of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) using time-resolved techniques is relatively unexplored, despite being key to an understanding of their chemical and physical properties. This Review summarizes the applicable techniques and how they can be used to probe MOF dynamics.

    • Daniel J. Cerasale
    • Dominic C. Ward
    • Timothy L. Easun
    Review Article
  • This Review establishes a unifying structure–property relationship among chemical composition, centrosymmetry breaking, lattice anharmonicity, ferroelectricity, dielectric screening and the Rashba effect in metal halide perovskites from the perspective of stereochemical expression of ns2 electron pairs on group IV metal cations.

    • Yongping Fu
    • Song Jin
    • X.-Y. Zhu
    Review Article
  • Over the past decade, advances in azobenzenes have revolutionized their application potential, going beyond traditional uses as dyes and ultraviolet photoswitches. This Review describes breakthroughs in the development of red-light-photoswitchable azobenzenes and emerging applications in photopharmacology, photoswitchable adhesives and biodegradable systems for drug delivery.

    • Florica Adriana Jerca
    • Valentin Victor Jerca
    • Richard Hoogenboom
    Review Article
  • We propose that life originated in spontaneously formed catalytic lipid micelles. Accumulating experimental evidence shows that such micelles undergo compositional autocatalytic reproduction. Lipid-first constitutes a parsimonious alternative to the RNA-first scenario.

    • Amit Kahana
    • Doron Lancet
  • Reversible addition–fragmentation chain-transfer (RAFT) polymerization and atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) are evaluated in terms of their mechanistic strengths and weaknesses, versatility and latest synthetic advances.

    • Nghia P. Truong
    • Glen R. Jones
    • Athina Anastasaki
  • The current scope and limitations, path to the clinic and therapeutic applications of long-wavelength-responsive, light-activated drugs are discussed in this Review.

    • Brianna M. Vickerman
    • Emilia M. Zywot
    • David S. Lawrence
    Review Article
  • The exploitation of non-covalent interactions in carbohydrate chemistry is gaining traction. This Review summarizes recent developments in harnessing non-covalent interactions in selective carbohydrate synthesis, and highlights future directions.

    • Charles C. J. Loh
    Review Article
  • This Review describes bioinspired biomimetic polymers that recapitulate macro-scale to atomic-scale features of naturally occurring materials. Particular attention is paid to biobased concepts, with an eye to having renewable supplies of self-healing, stimuli-responsive and/or antimicrobial materials.

    • Mitra S. Ganewatta
    • Zhongkai Wang
    • Chuanbing Tang
    Review Article
  • Uncontrolled bleeding is a major cause of death, incentivizing the development of biomaterials that aid haemostasis and wound healing. This Review highlights the active components and forms of haemostatic materials, with a focus on their chemical design, and considers future trends in their development.

    • Baolin Guo
    • Ruonan Dong
    • Meng Li
    Review Article