Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Automated synthesis yields sugar high

An automated synthetic method designed by chemists in Germany has assembled the longest synthetic oligosaccharide ever made from monosaccharides. The method could help to up the pace of carbohydrate research by improving researchers’ access to synthetic glycans.

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry The researchers used automated glycan assembly to make a 50mer polymannoside

Read the full article by Jennifer Newton on Chemistry World.

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Simplified structure eases antibiotic synthesis

New analogues of the potent antibiotic teixobactin could be instrumental in the fight against multi-drug resistant pathogens.

By replacing a rare amino acid in the structure of teixobactin, UK researchers have unlocked the door to cheaper and easier-to-manufacture forms of this potent antibiotic.

(Left) Teixobactin. (Right) General structure of teixobactin analogues with the hydrophilic/charged residues shown in red, hydrophobic residues shown in black and structural differences shown in blue.

Scientists in the US reported their discovery of teixobactin in 2015. It works against multi-drug resistant pathogens, but as it contains a rare and difficult to manufacture amino acid it is hard to make.

Read the full story by Tabitha Watson on Chemistry World.

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Bismuth drug structure solved

Crystal structure of bismuth subgallate viewed along (a) [010] and (b) [100]. Bismuth, carbon and oxygen atoms are coloured purple, grey and red, respectively. Hydrogen atoms and water molecules in the pores have been omitted for clarity.

Bismuth subgallate – a widely used pharmaceutical for treating stomach ulcers – is a porous coordination polymer, new research shows. The discovery, made by scientists in Sweden and the UK, settles a long running question over the drug’s structure, which had been frustrated by bismuth subgallate’s tiny crystals and their tendency to break down when exposed to high energy electron beams.

Now, Andrew Kentaro Inge from Stockholm University and his team have overcome these issues. By combining continuous rotational data collection with a cooling technique, they avoided the electron beam damage, poor resolution and diffuse scattering holding them and others back. ‘Continuous rotation electron diffraction is a promising way to elucidate the structures of hard to obtain, or very hard to crystallise, pharmaceutical forms. For this purpose, it’s an up-and-coming method,’ says Tomislav Friŝĉić, an expert in materials chemistry at McGill University in Canada.

Read the full story by Tabitha Watson on Chemistry World.

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Siliconrhodamine Probes Enable Bio-imaging with Super-resolution

Written by Tianyu Liu, University of California, Santa Cruz

Intracellular imaging is used to reveal fine details of live organisms. It is an indispensable component for the exploration of biomolecular processes in living cells. Super-resolution microscopy (SRM) is an emerging intracellular imaging technique which can acquire images of much higher resolution than those collected by conventional optical microscopy. Currently, the greatest challenge facing SRM is to develop imaging probes that are suitable for site-specific tagging of intracellular biomolecules. Such probes must be biocompatible, membrane-permeable, intensively fluorescent and photo-stable.

Writing in ChemComm., Dr. Peter Kele and coworkers at Research Center for Natural Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences have developed a group of siliconrhodamine probes that permit the labelling of intracellular proteins with excellent selectivity as well as fast response time (within 10 min).

The synthesized siliconrhodamine probes consist of a siliconrhodamine backbone anchored with a carboxyl group. The carboxyl group is responsible for the polarity-responsive property of the probes. When bound to polar protein surfaces, the probes exist in a fluorescent form. While upon non-specific binding to hydrophobic surfaces, the probes change their configurations and consequently, the fluorescence is lost. This conversion process is based on an intra-molecular Diels-Alder reaction (Figure below) that can be readily initiated by a polarity change without interrupting native biochemical processes in cells. Such a mechanism provides the probe biocompatibility and fast response characteristics.

The probe has been demonstrated for site-specific super-resolution imaging for live cells. The figure below depicts the experimental results collected using a mammalian cell. The cyan colored image (left) presents the actual cell image (as the reference). The middle magenta colored image was obtained by using one of the synthesized imaging probes. The overlay image (right) exhibits near-perfect co-localization of the reference and labelling images, indicating the probe’s excellent selectivity. Moreover, the labelling process is efficient with the probe concentration as low as 1.5 μM, and the duration as short as 10 min.

These stable, efficient, and biocompatible probes could profoundly advance super-resolution imaging of various intracellular structures.

To find out more please read:

Bioorthogonal Double-Fluorogenic Siliconrhodamine Probes for Intracellular Super-resolution Microscopy
Eszter Kozma, Gemma Estrada Girona, Giulia Paci, Edward A Lemke and Peter Kele
DOI: 10.1039/C7CC02212C

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ChemComm trials double-blind peer review option

You asked, we listened. And now we invite you to join us as we explore a different approach to peer review.

From 3 July 2017, for a period of 12 months, we are offering our authors a choice on how their manuscripts will be peer reviewed on ChemComm:

Single-blind peer review – where reviewers are anonymous but author names and affiliations are known to reviewers.

Double-blind peer review – where authors’ and reviewers’ identities are concealed from each other.

The choice of which peer review model should be used for each manuscript will be completely up to authors. However, as an author, if you opt for the double-blind process you will need to anonymise your manuscript before submission, avoiding mention of any information that might give your identity away. Authors who choose this option will be responsible for ensuring their submission is anonymised; we have prepared a checklist to help you.

As a reviewer for ChemComm, you may be invited to review a manuscript that has been anonymised. All communication with you regarding double-blind manuscripts will omit author and affiliation details.

Why a double-blind trial?

ChemComm has always used the traditional, single-blind peer review model favoured by most scientific journals, and we continue to trust in the effectiveness of this system.

However, we have listened to feedback from some members of the chemical science community and we have seen the growing interest in double-blind peer review. Proponents of double-blind review suggest that it can reduce the impact of biases, both obvious and subtle, conscious or otherwise, on peer review.  These biases could be based on gender, ethnicity, author affiliation, and so on. In response to this feedback from parts of our community, we decided to see for ourselves how ChemComm can offer authors the option of anonymity, and whether this is something that our community values.

Because the evidence for the effectiveness of double-blind in reducing bias is not clear cut1, we will carry out a 12-month trial to gather our own evidence.  We want to understand the true demand for double-blind review from our authors and, where possible, to measure any differences in the effectiveness of the peer review between the two approaches.

So why not take part in our 12-month experiment – both single- and double-blind peer review options will be available for submissions to ChemComm from the 3rd of July. Authors need only select the double-blind option upon submission to choose this process.

We value your feedback and, as part of the trial, we will be asking all authors and reviewers to complete a short survey about their experience – please do share your thoughts on peer review, whether single- or double-blind, with us. After the trial, we will share the results of our experiment with the community and use the evidence gathered to make a decision about using double-blind review in future.

At ChemComm, we are proud to be the leading journal for urgent, high-quality communications from across the chemical sciences – publishing 100 issues a year.

Read more about this trial in our guidelines for authors and reviewers.

 

1Bob O’Hara. “Peer Review Week: Should we use double blind peer review? The evidence…” (Methods.blog, the official blog of Methods in Ecology and Evolution) and references therein. 22 Sept 2016. Available at: https://methodsblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/22/peer-review-week-should-we-use-double-blind-peer-review-the-evidence/

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Outstanding Reviewers for Chemical Communications in 2016

Following the success of Peer Review Week in September 2016 (dedicated to reviewer recognition) during which we published a list of our top reviewers, we are delighted to announce that we will continue to recognise the contribution that our reviewers make to the journal by announcing our Outstanding Reviewers each year.

We would like to highlight the Outstanding Reviewers for Chemical Communications in 2016, as selected by the editorial team, for their significant contribution to the journal. The reviewers have been chosen based on the number, timeliness and quality of the reports completed over the last 12 months.

We would like to say a big thank you to those individuals listed here as well as to all of the reviewers that have supported the journal. Each Outstanding Reviewer will receive a certificate to give recognition for their significant contribution.

Professor Martin Albrecht, Universität Bern

Dr Guanghui An, Heilongjiang University

Professor Rahul Banerjee, National Chemical Laboratory

Dr Justin Chalker, Flinders University

Dr Takashi Hirose, Kyoto University

Dr Astrid Müller, Caltech

Dr David Nelson, University of Strathclyde

Dr Kyungsoo Oh, Chung-Ang University

Dr Zhenlei Song, SiChuan University

Dr Xuehai Yan, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces

We would also like to thank the Chemical Communications board and the General Chemistry community for their continued support of the journal, as authors, reviewers and readers.

If you would like to become a reviewer for our journal, just email us with details of your research interests and an up-to-date CV or résumé.  You can find more details in our author and reviewer resource centre

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Molecular structure is teixobactin’s pièce de résistance

Study builds scientists’ arsenal against drug-resistant superbugs

Scientists in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands have gained a crucial understanding of the structure–activity relationship of new antibiotic, teixobactin. Since reports of its discovery in early 2015, researchers have shown it can kill a number of pathogens without them developing resistance to it.

The University of Lincoln’s Ishwar Singh explains that there are several reasons for teixobactin’s potency: ‘It uses multiple modes of action to kill resistant bacteria, this makes it very attractive since, if it worked by only one mode, bacteria could modify more easily. It is much more challenging for bacteria to mutate on multiple levels.’ Teixobactin also targets lipids in the bacteria’s cell walls, which are considered to be less able to mutate and develop resistance.

Read the full story by Hannah Dunckley on Chemistry World.

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry
Structure of teixobactin and with the D-amino acids highlighted in red

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Traffic light label indicates food freshness

 

Ammonia gas diffusion basis for inexpensive colour-changing food freshness label.


Ever rummaged through the fridge and wondered, ’Is this meat still ok to eat?’ A cheap colour-changing label can now help answer this question.


Most commercial indicators that help customers evaluate their food’s freshness, such as MonitorMark and Timestrip, are expensive to manufacture or must to be stored at very low temperatures in order to prevent them from going off before being placed on the food. A new indicator developed by Andrew Mills and his team at Queen’s University Belfast, UK, overcomes these problems as it is made from very cheap materials, can be stored at room temperature, and activated when and where it’s needed.


Read the full story by Abigail Hallowes in Chemistry World.



This article is free to access until 25 January 2017.

A. Mills et al, Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 13987. DOI: 10.1039/C6CC07906G

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Royal Society of Chemistry and ACS Publications commit to ORCID integration

On 28 November 2016, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Chemical Society Publications Division, ACS Publications, both signed the ORCID Open Letter committing to unambiguous identification of all authors that publish in our journals.

The official press release can be found here: http://rsc.li/orcid

In brief, this partnership with ORCID will resolve ambiguity in researcher identification caused by name changes, cultural differences in name presentation, and the inconsistent use of name abbreviations, thereby ensuring their contributions are appropriately recognized and credited.

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Soft drinks power origami cell

Graphical Abstract

Source: © Royal Society of Chemistry - The tiny fuel cell is made from a folded sheet of filter paper that holds the anode and cathode

Miniature fuel cell made from folded filter paper runs on sugary drinks.

Researchers in China have found a way to integrate the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, origami, into a miniature biofuel cell that can generate energy from soft drinks.

Biofuel cells use enzymes, instead of precious metals, as catalysts to oxidise their fuel. Miniature versions have excited researchers because they are portable and have high efficiency. They could provide power for implants or electronic contact lenses or harvest energy from perspiration. However, designing these small biofuel cells is difficult due to complicated assembly and high costs.


Read the full article in Chemistry World >>>


A miniature origami biofuel cell based on a consumed cathode
You Yu, Yujie Han, Baohua Lou, Lingling Zhang, Lei Hana and Shaojun Dong
Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 13499-13502
DOI: 10.1039/C6CC07466A, Communication

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