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Highlights in Chemical Science

News from across RSC Publishing.

Issue 4

Chemistry meets biology

Chemical genetics, where small molecules are used to directly inhibit proteins, is emerging as an excellent complement to traditional genetic approaches. Genetics uses gene mutations and their effects to study what proteins encoded by specific genes do within cells. But, although powerful, this approach has drawbacks. David Spring from Cambridge University, UK, reviews this chemical approach to genetics, its advantages over genetics alone and the significant impact it is making in biological research.

Current control of chemistry

Richard Compton and his collaborators at the University of Oxford, UK, find that when they treat carbon nanotubes (modified with attached dye molecules) with an electric current, part of the dye molecule breaks off. By controlling the current applied, the UK chemists can define the amount of the chemical that is released. This concept could be used to deliver drugs, in microchips, or to make chemical sensors.

Doubling the charge

Kiyokazu Fuke and team at Kobe University, Japan, are using intense lasers to examine oxidation in magnesium-ammonia clusters. Intense laser pulses strip electrons from the singly-charged magnesium ions, which are easy to make, rather than the softer ammonia molecules. This produces, for the first time in this type of experiment, doubly-charged ions, as found in real solutions.

The drugs don't work

The medical community is fighting a constant battle against bacterial infections that do not respond to treatment with antibiotics. Paul Hergernrother and Johna DeNap from the University of Illinois, US, outline a promising strategy for overcoming drug-resistant bacteria by targeting plasmid replication. Plasmids are small extrachromosomal fragments of DNA which enter bacterial cells and encode the proteins to resist antibiotics. Disrupting the replicating mechanism of plasmids re-sensitises bacteria to antibiotics and enables bacterial infections to be treated effectively.

Essential Elements

The final countdown...

The final countdown to the launch of the RSC's two new interdisciplinary journals, Molecular BioSystems and Soft Matter, has begun! Readers can now sample the first articles online...

Cocktails for ChemComm

200 people gathered at a reception in the San Diego Marriot Hotel on 13th March to celebrate ChemComm's 40 successful years of publication.

And finally......

Staff from the RSC's publishing and membership divisions have just returned from an extensive two-week tour of China.

Research Highlights

Lipid flip-flops

Fluorescent probes prove lipid flipping is not stereochemically controlled

Self-propelling nano-transporter

Nature's cellular machinery inspiration for a miniature fuel-laden vehicle

The mysterious nature of water

Questions about ultraviscous water remain after new information emerges

Potential for anti-tumour drugs

Transition metal complex shows exceptional cytotoxic activity

Aloe plants turn red in the desert

Aloe plants turn red in the desert

Mysterious origin of super greenhouse gas

Mysterious origin of super greenhouse gas

Templates for holes in polymers

An easy, cheap way to make polymers with large in-built holes has been developed after a fortuitous discovery by UK chemists.

Pest's pheromones made easy

The dream of a straightforward method for making complicated natural products is moving closer to reality thanks to a team of Dutch chemists.

Channels standing out

Channels standing out

Single molecule machines

Molecular machines could soon be a reality.

Getting inside silica channels

Getting inside silica channels

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