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Journal: Chemical reviews


The halogen bond occurs when there is evidence of a net attractive interaction between an electrophilic region associated with a halogen atom in a molecular entity and a nucleophilic region in another, or the same, molecular entity. In this fairly extensive review, after a brief history of the interaction, we will provide the reader with a snapshot of where the research on the halogen bond is now, and, perhaps, where it is going. The specific advantages brought up by a design based on the use of the halogen bond will be demonstrated in quite different fields spanning from material sciences to biomolecular recognition and drug design.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Water, Molecule, Chemistry, Atom, Materials science, A Brief History of Time, Halogen


This Review focuses on noncovalent functionalization of graphene and graphene oxide with various species involving biomolecules, polymers, drugs, metals and metal oxide-based nanoparticles, quantum dots, magnetic nanostructures, other carbon allotropes (fullerenes, nanodiamonds, and carbon nanotubes), and graphene analogues (MoS2, WS2). A brief description of π-π interactions, van der Waals forces, ionic interactions, and hydrogen bonding allowing noncovalent modification of graphene and graphene oxide is first given. The main part of this Review is devoted to tailored functionalization for applications in drug delivery, energy materials, solar cells, water splitting, biosensing, bioimaging, environmental, catalytic, photocatalytic, and biomedical technologies. A significant part of this Review explores the possibilities of graphene/graphene oxide-based 3D superstructures and their use in lithium-ion batteries. This Review ends with a look at challenges and future prospects of noncovalently modified graphene and graphene oxide.

Concepts: Oxygen, Hydrogen, Carbon, Nanomaterials, Carbon nanotube, Graphite, Graphene, Lithium


This review covers the functionalization reactions of meso-arylcorroles, both at the inner core, as well as the peripheral positions of the macrocycle. Experimental details for the synthesis of all known metallocorrole types and for the N-alkylation reactions are presented. Key peripheral functionalization reactions such as halogenation, formylation, carboxylation, nitration, sulfonation, and others are discussed in detail, particularly the nucleophilic aromatic substitution and the participation of corroles in cycloaddition reactions as 2π or 4π components (covering Diels-Alder and 1,3-dipolar cycloadditions). Other functionalizations of corroles include a large diversity of reactions, namely Wittig reactions, reactions with methylene active compounds, formation of amines, amides, and imines, and metal catalyzed reactions. At the final section, the reactions involving oxidation and ring expansion of the corrole macrocycle are described comprehensively.

Concepts: Amine, Nucleophilic substitution, Substitution reaction, Nitrogen, Amide, Imine, Nucleophilic acyl substitution, Substitution reactions


This review aims at giving the readers the basic concepts needed to understand two-dimensional bimolecular organizations at the vacuum-solid interface. The first part describes and analyzes molecules-molecules and molecules-substrates interactions. The current limitations and needs in the understanding of these forces are also detailed. Then, a critical analysis of the past and recent advances in the field is presented by discussing most of the key papers describing bicomponents self-assembly on solid surface in an ultrahigh vacuum environment. These sections are organized by considering decreasing molecule-molecule interaction strengths (i.e. starting from strong directional multiple H bonds up to weaker nondirectional bonds taking into account the increasing fundamental role played by the surface). Finally, we conclude with some research directions (predicting self-assembly, multi-components systems, and nonmetallic surfaces) and potential applications (porous networks and organic surfaces).

Concepts: Monotonic function, Understanding, Interaction, The Key, Space, Surface, Order theory, Vacuum


The native chemical ligation reaction (NCL) involves reacting a C-terminal peptide thioester with an N-terminal cysteinyl peptide to produce a native peptide bond between the two fragments. This reaction has considerably extended the size of polypeptides and proteins that can be produced by total synthesis and has also numerous applications in bioconjugation, polymer synthesis, material science, and micro- and nanotechnology research. The aim of the present review is to provide a thorough mechanistic overview of NCL and extended methods. The most relevant properties of peptide thioesters, Cys peptides, and common solvents, reagents, additives, and catalysts used for these ligations are presented. Mechanisms, selectivity and reactivity are, whenever possible, discussed through the insights of computational and physical chemistry studies. The inherent limitations of NCL are discussed with insights from the mechanistic standpoint. This review also presents a palette of O, S-, N, S-, or N, Se-acyl shift systems as thioester or selenoester surrogates and discusses the special molecular features that govern reactivity in each case. Finally, the various thiol-based auxiliaries and thiol or selenol amino acid surrogates that have been developed so far are discussed with a special focus on the mechanism of long-range N, S-acyl migrations and selective dechalcogenation reactions.


Triflimide (HNTf2) is a commercially available and highly versatile super Brønsted acid. Owing to its strong acidity as well as good compatibility with organic solvents, it has been widely employed as an exceptional catalyst, promoter, or additive in a wide range of organic reactions. On many occasions, triflimide has been demonstrated to outperform triflic acid (TfOH). The uniquely outstanding performance of triflimide also benefits from the low nucleophilicity and noncoordinating property of its conjugate base (Tf2N-). Therefore, it has been employed as a precursor toward a variety of cationic metal complexes or organic intermediates with enhanced reactivity or catalytic activity. In this Review, we describe these features and applications of triflimide in organic synthesis, including its synthesis, physical properties, and role as catalyst or promoter in organic reactions. At the end of this Review, another closely related reagent, triflidic acid (HCTf3), is also briefly introduced.


Accurate and precise drug delivery is the key to successful therapy. Monoclonal antibodies, which can transport therapeutic payload to cells expressing specific markers, have paved the way for targeted drug delivery and currently show tremendous clinical success. However, in those abundant cases, when a disease cannot be characterized by a single specific marker, more sophisticated drug delivery systems are required. To enhance targeting accuracy, diverse smart materials have been proposed that can also react to stimuli like variations of pH, temperature, magnetic field, etc. Furthermore, over the past few years a new category of smart materials has emerged, which can not only respond to virtually any biochemical or physical stimulus but also simultaneously analyze several cues and, moreover, can be programmed to use Boolean logic for such analysis. These advanced biocomputing agents have the potential to become a basis for future nanorobotic devices that could overcome some of the grand challenges of modern biomedicine. Here, with a brief introduction to the multidisciplinary field of biomolecular computing, we will review the concepts of nanomaterials with built-in biocomputing capabilities, which can be potentially used for drug delivery and other theranostic applications.


Protein-catalyzed capture agents (PCCs) are synthetic and modular peptide-based affinity agents that are developed through the use of single-generation in situ click chemistry screens against large peptide libraries. In such screens, the target protein, or a synthetic epitope fragment of that protein, provides a template for selectively promoting the noncopper catalyzed azide-alkyne dipolar cycloaddition click reaction between either a library peptide and a known ligand or a library peptide and the synthetic epitope. The development of epitope-targeted PCCs was motivated by the desire to fully generalize pioneering work from the Sharpless and Finn groups in which in situ click screens were used to develop potent, divalent enzymatic inhibitors. In fact, a large degree of generality has now been achieved. Various PCCs have demonstrated utility for selective protein detection, as allosteric or direct inhibitors, as modulators of protein folding, and as tools for in vivo tumor imaging. We provide a historical context for PCCs and place them within the broader scope of biological and synthetic aptamers. The development of PCCs is presented as (i) Generation I PCCs, which are branched ligands engineered through an iterative, nonepitope-targeted process, and (ii) Generation II PCCs, which are typically developed from macrocyclic peptide libraries and are precisely epitope-targeted. We provide statistical comparisons of Generation II PCCs relative to monoclonal antibodies in which the protein target is the same. Finally, we discuss current challenges and future opportunities of PCCs.


Cell membranes contain a large variety of lipid types and are crowded with proteins, endowing them with the plasticity needed to fulfill their key roles in cell functioning. The compositional complexity of cellular membranes gives rise to a heterogeneous lateral organization, which is still poorly understood. Computational models, in particular molecular dynamics simulations and related techniques, have provided important insight into the organizational principles of cell membranes over the past decades. Now, we are witnessing a transition from simulations of simpler membrane models to multicomponent systems, culminating in realistic models of an increasing variety of cell types and organelles. Here, we review the state of the art in the field of realistic membrane simulations and discuss the current limitations and challenges ahead.


How are water’s material properties encoded within the structure of the water molecule? This is pertinent to understanding Earth’s living systems, its materials, its geochemistry and geophysics, and a broad spectrum of its industrial chemistry. Water has distinctive liquid and solid properties: It is highly cohesive. It has volumetric anomalies-water’s solid (ice) floats on its liquid; pressure can melt the solid rather than freezing the liquid; heating can shrink the liquid. It has more solid phases than other materials. Its supercooled liquid has divergent thermodynamic response functions. Its glassy state is neither fragile nor strong. Its component ions-hydroxide and protons-diffuse much faster than other ions. Aqueous solvation of ions or oils entails large entropies and heat capacities. We review how these properties are encoded within water’s molecular structure and energies, as understood from theories, simulations, and experiments. Like simpler liquids, water molecules are nearly spherical and interact with each other through van der Waals forces. Unlike simpler liquids, water’s orientation-dependent hydrogen bonding leads to open tetrahedral cage-like structuring that contributes to its remarkable volumetric and thermal properties.

Concepts: Water, Molecule, Chemistry, Atom, Chemical bond, Heat, Solid, Liquid