HOT ChemComm articles for July

All of the referee-recommended articles below are free to access until 5th September 2018.

Transformation of single MOF nanocrystals into single nanostructured catalysts within mesoporous supports: a platform for pioneer fluidized-nanoreactor hydrogen carriers
Ignacio Luz, Mustapha Soukri and Marty Lail
Chem. Commun., 2018,54, 8462-8465
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC04562C, Communication

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Defective Pt nanoparticles encapsulated in mesoporous metal–organic frameworks for enhanced catalysis
Qiang Wang, Xu-Sheng Wang, Chun-Hui Chen, Xue Yang, Yuan-Biao Huang and Rong Cao
Chem. Commun., 2018,54, 8822-8825
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC04485F, Communication

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Tetrahedral DNAzymes for enhanced intracellular gene-silencing activity
Hien Bao Dieu Thai, Fabienne Levi-Acobas, Soo-Young Yum, Goo Jang, Marcel Hollenstein and Dae-Ro Ahn
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05721D, Communication

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Strong carbon cage influence on the single molecule magnetism in Dy–Sc nitride clusterfullerenes
Christin Schlesier, Lukas Spree, Aram Kostanyan, Rasmus Westerström, Ariane Brandenburg, Anja U. B. Wolter, Shangfeng Yang, Thomas Greber and Alexey A. Popov
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05029E, Communication

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CdZnSe@ZnSe colloidal alloy quantum dots for high-efficiency all-inorganic perovskite solar cells
Qinghua Li, Jinke Bai, Tingting Zhang, Chao Nie, Jialong Duan and Qunwei Tang
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC05517C, Communication

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Upgrading gasoline to high octane number using Zeolite-like Metal Organic Framework molecular sieve with ana-topology
Mohamed Eddaoudi,  M Infas Mohideen,  Youssef Belmabkhout,  Prashant Bhatt,  Zhijie Chen,  karim adil  and  Aleksander Shkurenko
Chem. Commun., 2018, Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC04824J, Communication

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Marbles, Microreactions and Magic Tricks

The reaction vessel is a fixed variable behind every innovative chemical synthesis, material or catalyst. It may be as simple as a round bottom flask or as complex as a single cell, as large as an industrial batch reactor or as small as a test tube.

Yujun Feng and co-workers, at Sichuan University in China, study a different kind of reaction vessel: water droplets. The droplets are ‘liquid marbles’, composed of microlitre volumes of water with fine hydrophobic particles covering their surface. Liquid marbles can be used as reaction vessels to manipulate small liquid volumes, avoiding the use of specialised microfluidics equipment. In this communication the authors show that carbon dioxide can trigger coalescence of droplets containing multiple reagents, in order to perform microscale chemistry. This research could be useful for developing high-throughput assays for procedures that would benefit from remotely controlled induction such as very fast or hazardous reactions.

The authors synthesised CO2-responsive particles composed of a mixture of polystyrene and PDEA: a methacrylate polymer bearing tertiary amine ancillary groups. The amine is vital to the properties of the polymer: when deprotonated the powder is hydrophobic, but exposure to carbon dioxide renders the polymer hydrophilic by transforming the amine into an ammonium bicarbonate salt. Liquid marbles were synthesised with a patch of CO2-responsive polymer powder. The rest of the marble was coated in lycopodium, a moss spore with hydrophobic properties that is not CO2-responsive (trivia: the high fat content of lycopdoium makes it a great flash powder, used by magicians since the middle ages).

A) Liquid marbles with white hydrophobic/hydrophilic CO2-responsive patches and pink (dyed) lycopodium powder. B) Coalescence of two liquid marbles upon CO2 carbon dioxide exposure within one minute. C) Coalescence schematic

A) Liquid marbles with white CO2-responsive patches and pink (dyed) lycopodium powder. B) & C) Photos and schematic of coalescence between two liquid marbles upon CO2 exposure

To realise CO2-induced chemistry, two liquid marbles containing different chemical reagents are placed side by side with the CO2-responsive powder positioned at the interface of the two marbles. Upon exposure to CO2 the responsive powder becomes hydrophilic and disperses into the aqueous solution within the two marbles, causing them to coalesce and the reagents to react within a single vessel. The authors performed several reactions using this method, all with distinct colour changes for rapid analysis: redox (persulfate and iodide, permanganate and persulfate), complexation (starch and iodine), substitution (bromine water and phenol) and chemiluminescence (luminol, peroxide and ferricyanide).

The authors show in this paper that innovations in chemistry needn’t be limited to reactions themselves; the vessel we choose can broaden what is possible on a practical level. On a completely impractical note, remotely controlled microreactions in liquid marbles sounds like a magic trick, resonant with the lycopodium flash powder covering their surface.

To find out more please read:

CO2-triggered microreactions in liquid marbles 

Xinjie Luo, Hongyao Yin, Xian’e Li, Xin Su, Yujun Feng.
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/c8cc01786g

About the author

Zoë Hearne is a PhD candidate in chemistry at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, under the supervision of Professor Chao-Jun Li. She hails from Canberra, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Her current research focuses on transition metal catalysis to effect novel transformations, and out of the lab she is an enthusiastic chemistry tutor and science communicator.

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ChemComm Poster Prize winner for the 2nd Early Career Researchers Meeting of the RSC–Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Group

Dr Guillaume De Bo (left) presenting the ChemComm prize to Alexander Elmi (right).

The 2nd Early Career Researchers Meeting of the RSC-Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry (RSC-MASC) Group took place on 27th July 2018 at the University of Manchester, UK. This one-day symposium was organised by Dr. Guillaume De Bo (University of Manchester) and was attended by PhD students and post-doctoral researchers within the supramolecular field.

The meeting consisted of fifteen selected talks from submitted abstracts, and all attendees were invited to present a poster. The day ended with a plenary lecture by Professor Anthony Davis (University of Bristol) on ‘Biomimetic Carbohydrate Recognition:  The Host-Guest Chemistry of Carbohydrates in Water’.

ChemComm was proud to sponsor this successful symposium. Alexander Elmi (University of Edinburgh) received the ChemComm poster prize for his poster entitledUnderstanding Aromatic Stacking Interactions In Solution’.

 

Congratulations Alexander from everyone at ChemComm!

 

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ChemComm to keep double-blind peer review option

Since July 2017, ChemComm has been running an experiment; offering authors a choice on how their manuscript is peer reviewed. Authors have had the option to choose between the customary ‘single-blind’ peer review, where reviewers remain anonymous while knowing who the authors are or choose to keep their identity from reviewers, who will assess the work without knowing who the authors are – i.e., ‘double-blind’ peer review. 12 months on, as our experiment comes to a close, we want to share some of our findings, which have led us to decide to keep optional double-blind peer review on ChemComm.

Over the last 12 months, 10% of ChemComm authors chose the double-blind option at submission. In line with data published in the Peer Review Congress abstracts1, authors from India and Iran had higher than average uptake, whereas USA, Japan, Germany and the UK all showed less than 5% uptake. During the trial we gathered feedback from authors to understand their motivations for choosing either single- or double-blind peer review. We found that those who chose double-blind, perceived this option to be more fair and all said they would choose it again next time they submit. Those who opted for single-blind peer review did so because of familiarity with the process, with a small proportion saying they would chose double-blind next time.

Authors are responsible for anonymising their own manuscripts, and we found that a significant portion of manuscripts were not fully anonymised, in many cases due to author and/or affiliation details being present in the main article. This is something we want to explore further to see if there are actions we can take to increase the proportion of manuscripts that are fully anonymised. If you do want to choose double-blind peer review for your submission, guidelines for successfully anonymising your manuscript can be found in our handy checklist along with more detailed guidelines for authors and reviewers.

Overall, our findings suggest that the quality of the reviews received was comparable for both single- and double-blind review and author satisfaction levels were also equal for both. Although it is unclear at this stage whether double-blind peer review truly reduces bias during the peer review process, it has been clear to us that there is strong advocacy for it from some members of our community. Therefore, we want to continue offering our authors at ChemComm a choice and therefore the option to choose double-blind peer review will remain as a permanent feature.

We continue to welcome your comments and feedback and encourage you to try double-blind peer review for your next submission.

 

1Elisa De Ranieri et al. Analysis of Uptake and Outcome in Author-Selected Single-blind vs Double-blind Peer Review at Nature Journals https://peerreviewcongress.org/prc17-0305

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PCET 2018 – a successful gathering for the chemistry community

The 3rd International Conference on Proton Coupled Electron Transfer (PCET) was held recently from 10 – 14 June in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, USA. The meeting was a great success and one that ChemComm was very happy to support.

There were 128 attendees overall included attendees spanning 15 countries. The topics of the 81 posters and 34 talks presented covered all areas of Chemistry, one of which was presented by Ken Sakai, Kyushu University and sponsored by ChemComm.

The 4th PCET meeting will be held in 2021 in Catalonia, Spain, and will be hosted by Toni Llobet.

 

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Dr Rafal Klajn’s UK tour as the 2018 Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize winner

We are delighted to announce that Dr Rafal Klajn, winner of the ChemComm sponsored 2018 Cram Lehn Pedersen Prize, will be giving a series of lectures at UK universities during the week commencing 16th July 2018.

Rafal began his independent research career in November 2009 at the Weizmann Insitute of Science, Israel, directly after obtaining his PhD degree. His group has worked on nanoscale reactivity and self-assembly – incorporating photo-responsive moieties into nanoporous solids, working with superparamagnetic nanoparticles of various shapes and demonstrating that cubic nanoparticles of iron oxide could spontaneously assemble into helical materials, and developing the concept of “dynamically self-assembling nanoflasks” capable of accelerating chemical reactions using light, working with flexible metal-organic (coordination) cages that can encapsulate diverse organic molecules ranging from fluorescent dyes to nonpolar pharmaceuticals, among other projects.

He is currently an Associate Professor at Department of Organic Chemistry at the Weizmann Institute of Science and now focuses on creating synthetic out-of-equilibrium systems and “life-like” materials, not only to develop innovative functional materials, but also to tackle what he deems as one of the most important and fascinating problems – the origin of life.

As part of the Prize, Rafal presents 3 lectures and we are delighted to announce that 2 of these will be taking place during his UK tour. He will be giving these in conjunction with lectures for the 2017 Chem Soc Rev Emerging Investigator Lectureship that was also awarded to him. You can find details for his upcoming UK tour below.

Day University Host
Monday 16th July University of Bristol Professor Jonathan Reid
Tuesday 17th July Durham University Professor Jonathan Steed
Wednesday 18th July University of Nottingham Professor David Amabilino
Thursday 19th July University of Cambridge Professor Jonathan Nitschke
Friday 20th July University College London (UCL) Dr Tung Chun Lee
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An enzymatic Rube Goldberg machine: a bioluminescent switch for the detection of uracil DNA-glycosylase

A team of researchers from Shandong Normal University in Jinan, China, have developed a highly sensitive and label-free assay for the detection of uracil-DNA glycosylase, a DNA repair enzyme that removes uracil from DNA molecules. Uracil is an RNA base, and when uracil appears in DNA through deamination of cytosine or misincorporation during DNA synthesis, the error can have mutagenic consequences.

Diminished activity of uracil-DNA glycosylase has been linked to a number of disease states including human immunodeficiency and Bloom syndrome, an inherited disorder associated with an increased risk of cancer (among other symptoms). Developing sensitive methods to quantify uracil-DNA glycosylase would enable early diagnosis of such conditions and improve understanding of the DNA-repair machinery. As a proof-of-concept, the researchers showed that this method could quantify the enzyme in the cell lysate of HeLa cancer cells.

Their method reminds me of Rube Goldberg machines, which achieve a task via a series of connected, mechanical steps. Completion of one step triggers the start of another: such as a line of falling dominos hitting a marble that, in turn, rolls down a track. In this work the action of one enzyme returns a product that is the preferred substrate of another enzyme. At the risk of deviating slightly, one of the more spectacular examples of a Rube Goldberg machine is seen in the music video for OK GO’s ‘this too shall pass’, a single-take shoot of a warehouse sized machine, featuring rolling cars, swinging pianos, flowing water and rolling billiard balls, all to perform the task of (spoiler alert) blasting the band members in the face with coloured paint.

The label-free strategy for detecting uracil-DNA glycosylase results in a bioluminescent signal via tricyclic signal amplification

The strategy starts with the action of uracil-DNA glycosylase and ends with a bioluminescent signal via a cascade of enzymatic reactions

The authors’ strategy involves a series of sequential steps employing seven different enzymes and three nucleic acid probes. It begins with a double stranded DNA probe containing one rogue uracil base: the perfect bait for uracil-DNA glycosylase. The action of this enzyme and two others, in a process involving base excision, DNA backbone cleavage and the addition of thymine-rich sequences, produces a large quantity of single-stranded DNA molecules with long thymine-rich tails. These molecules hybridise with adenine-rich RNA probes to generate RNA-DNA duplexes. An enzyme digests the RNA portion, releasing adenosine monophosphate monomers, which are converted to adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a required energy input to activate firefly luciferase. Luciferase catalyses the oxidation of luciferin to form oxyluciferin, accompanied by a large bioluminescent signal. Thus, uracil-DNA glycosylase is detected with 1-2 orders of magnitude more sensitivity than state-of-the-art fluorescent and luminescent assays.

Unlike conventional Rube Goldberg machines, which are characterised by unnecessary complexity, in this ‘enzymatic Rube Goldberg machine’ each step has a specific purpose and serves to amplify the signal of the last. This is dubbed ‘tricyclic cascade signal amplification’ and it enables highly sensitive detection of the enzyme.

To find out more please read:

Label-free and high-throughput bioluminescence detection of uracil-DNA glycosylase in cancer cells through tricyclic cascade signal amplification

Yan Zhang, Qing-nan Li, Chen-chen Li, Chen-yang Zhang.
Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 6991-6994
DOI: 10.1039/c8cc03769h

About the author

Zoë Hearne is a PhD candidate in chemistry at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, under the supervision of Professor Chao-Jun Li. She hails from Canberra, Australia, where she completed her undergraduate degree. Her current research focuses on transition metal catalysis to effect novel transformations, and out of the lab she is an enthusiastic chemistry tutor and science communicator.

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HOT ChemComm articles for June

All of the referee-recommended articles below are free to access until 3rd August 2018.

Highly Lewis acidic cationic alkaline earth metal complexes 
Jürgen Pahl, Steffen Brand, Holger Elsen and Sjoerd Harder
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC04083D, Communication

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Single-site labeling of lysine in proteins through a metal-free multicomponent approach
Maheshwerreddy Chilamari, Neetu Kalra, Sanjeev Shukla and Vishal Rai
Chem. Commun., 2018,54, 7302-7305
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC03311K, Communication

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Controlling the growth of fullerene C60 cones under continuous flow
Ibrahim K. Alsulami, Thaar M. D. Alharbi, David P. Harvey, Christopher T. Gibson and Colin L. Raston
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC03730B, Communication

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Formal water oxidation turnover frequencies from MIL-101(Cr) anchored Ru(bda) depend on oxidant concentration
Asamanjoy Bhunia, Ben A. Johnson, Joanna Czapla-Masztafiak, Jacinto Sá and Sascha Ott
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC02300J, Communication

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Smart urea ionic co-crystals with enhanced urease inhibition activity for improved nitrogen cycle management
Lucia Casali, Luca Mazzei, Oleksii Shemchuk, Kenneth Honer, Fabrizia Grepioni, Stefano Ciurli, Dario Braga and Jonas Baltrusaitis
Chem. Commun., 2018,54, 7637-7640
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC03777A, Communication

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CO2-Triggered microreactions in liquid marbles
Xinjie Luo, Hongyao Yin, Xian’e Li, Xin Su and Yujun Feng
Chem. Commun., 2018, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C8CC01786G, Communication

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Meeting of Inorganic Chemists Recently Appointed

Chemical CommunicationsChemical Science and Dalton Transactions are pleased to sponsor the 2018 Meeting of Inorganic Chemists Recently Appointed (MICRA). This biennial event is being organised by Dr Timothy Easun and Dr Rebecca Melen from Cardiff University, and is taking place on 10 – 12 September 2018 at Cardiff University in Wales.

The meeting brings together junior inorganic chemistry academics from across the UK to help aid their development into independent researchers through networking and exchanging experiences. MICRA 2018 will have exciting talks from experts such as Paul Saines (University of Kent), Timothy Easun (Cardiff University) and Rebecca Melen (Cardiff University).

For more information and to register, go to: https://www.micra2018.com/

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ChemComm poster prize winner at the 16th Symposium for Host-Guest and Supramolecular Chemistry

The 16th Symposium for Host-Guest and Supramolecular Chemistry was held on 2 – 3 June 2018 at the Tokyo University of Science in Japan.

This annual symposium covers all aspects of the chemical sciences related to molecular recognition and supramolecular chemistry, including the discussion of topics around intermolecular interactions. The event included a special lecture by Dr Shigeki Sasaki and invited lectures by Dr Takashi Hayashi and Dr Katsuhiko Ariga.

ChemComm is delighted to announce that the ChemComm poster prize was awarded to Hiroshi Koganezawa from the Tokyo University of Science for a poster entitled ‘Synthesis of [2]Rotaxanes with Spirofluorene and Pyrrole Moieties’.

Well done Hiroshi from everyone at ChemComm!

 

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