Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors



Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > A new set of building blocks for simple synthesis of complex molecules

Photo by Becky Duffield

Graduate student Seiko Fujii and chemistry professor Martin Burke developed a novel class of chemical “building blocks” to more efficiently synthesize complex molecules, such as the antioxidant synechoxanthin.
Photo by Becky Duffield

Graduate student Seiko Fujii and chemistry professor Martin Burke developed a novel class of chemical “building blocks” to more efficiently synthesize complex molecules, such as the antioxidant synechoxanthin.

Abstract:
Assembling chemicals can be like putting together a puzzle. University of Illinois chemists have developed a way of fitting the pieces together to more efficiently build complex molecules, beginning with a powerful and promising antioxidant.

A new set of building blocks for simple synthesis of complex molecules

Champaign, IL | Posted on August 22nd, 2011

Led by chemistry professor Martin Burke, the team published its research on the cover of the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

Burke's group is known for developing a synthesis technique called iterative cross-coupling (ICC) that uses simple, stable chemical "building blocks" sequentially joined in a repetitive reaction. With more than 75 of the building blocks available commercially, pharmaceutical companies and other laboratories use ICC to create complex small molecules that could have medicinal properties.

"There's pre-installed functionality and stereochemistry, so everything is set in the building blocks, and all you have to do is couple them together," said graduate student Seiko Fujii, the first author of the paper.

However, ICC has been limited to only molecules with one type of polarity. Now, the group has developed reverse-polarity ICC, which allows a chemist to optimize the ICC process to match the target molecules' electronic structure. The reversal in polarity enables a whole new class of building blocks, so researchers can synthesize molecules more efficiently and even construct molecules that standard ICC cannot.

For example, in the paper, the group used the new method to make synechoxanthin (pronounced sin-ecko-ZAN-thin), a molecule first isolated from bacteria in 2008 that shows great promise as an antioxidant. Studies suggest that synechoxanthin allows the bacteria that produce it to live and thrive in highly oxidative environments.

"We as humans experience a lot of oxidative stress, and it can be really deleterious to human health," said Burke, who also is affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "It can lead to diseases like cancer and atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative disorders. Evidence strongly suggests that synechoxanthin is a major part of the bacteria's solution to this problem. We're excited to ask the question, what can we learn from the bug? Can it also protect a human cell?"

Studies on the activity of synechoxanthin have been limited by the difficulty of extracting the molecule from bacterial cultures. Burke's group successfully synthesized it from a mere three types of readily available, highly stable, non-toxic building blocks. Thanks to the ease of ICC, they can produce relatively large quantities of synechoxanthin for study as well as derivatives to test against the natural product.

"Because this building-block-based design is inherently flexible, once we've made the natural product, we can make any derivative we want simply by swapping in one different building block, and then using the reverse-polarity ICC to snap them together," Burke said. "That's where synthesis is so powerful. Oftentimes, the cleanest experiment will require a molecule that doesn't exist, unless you can piece it together."

Researchers can also use blocks that have been "tagged" with a fluorescent or radioactive dye to make it easier to study the molecule and its activity. For example, Fujii next plans to synthesize both synechoxanthin and its apolar derivative with tags so that NMR imaging can reveal its location and orientation within a cell's membrane, possibly providing clues to its activity.

"After we have all these molecules in hand, we're really excited to test the antioxidant activity of them in a model membrane," Fujii said.

The National Institutes of Health and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute supported this work.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Liz Ahlberg
Physical Sciences Editor
217-244-1073


Martin Burke
217-244-8726

Copyright © University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

The paper, “Total Synthesis of Synechoxanthin through Iterative Cross-Coupling,” is available online.

Related News Press

News and information

PetLife Comments on CNN Story on Scorpion Venom Health Benefits August 27th, 2014

Nanodiamonds Are Forever: A UCSB professor’s research examines 13,000-year-old nanodiamonds from multiple locations across three continents August 27th, 2014

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. to Present at Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference August 27th, 2014

Nanotech Security Corp. to Acquire Fortress Optical Features Ltd., a Leading Producer of Banknote Security Features August 27th, 2014

Imaging

JPK expands availability of instrumentation in the USA – appointing new distributors – launched a new web site to support the US market - AFM now available to US users August 26th, 2014

Scientists craft atomically seamless, thinnest-possible semiconductor junctions August 26th, 2014

X-ray Laser Probes Tiny Quantum Tornadoes in Superfluid Droplets: SLAC Experiment Reveals Mysterious Order in Liquid Helium August 25th, 2014

Biomimetic photodetector 'sees' in color: Rice lab uses CMOS-compatible aluminum for on-chip color detection August 25th, 2014

Chemistry

Production of Toxic Ion Nanosorbents with High Sorption Capacity in Iran August 17th, 2014

Scientists fold RNA origami from a single strand: RNA origami is a new method for organizing molecules on the nanoscale. Using just a single strand of RNA, this technique can produce many complicated shapes. August 14th, 2014

Could hemp nanosheets topple graphene for making the ideal supercapacitor? August 12th, 2014

Iranians Find Novel Method for Processing Highly Pure Ceramic Nanoparticles August 12th, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Introducing the multi-tasking nanoparticle: Versatile particles offer a wide variety of diagnostic and therapeutic applications August 26th, 2014

Scientists craft atomically seamless, thinnest-possible semiconductor junctions August 26th, 2014

Competition for Graphene: Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate Ultrafast Charge Transfer in New Family of 2D Semiconductors August 26th, 2014

X-ray Laser Probes Tiny Quantum Tornadoes in Superfluid Droplets: SLAC Experiment Reveals Mysterious Order in Liquid Helium August 25th, 2014

Discoveries

The thunder god vine, assisted by nanotechnology, could shake up future cancer treatment: Targeted therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma using nanotechnology August 27th, 2014

Creation of a Highly Efficient Technique to Develop Low-Friction Materials Which Are Drawing Attention in Association with Energy Issues August 26th, 2014

Competition for Graphene: Berkeley Lab Researchers Demonstrate Ultrafast Charge Transfer in New Family of 2D Semiconductors August 26th, 2014

Symphony of nanoplasmonic and optical resonators leads to magnificent laser-like light emission August 26th, 2014

Announcements

Nanodiamonds Are Forever: A UCSB professor’s research examines 13,000-year-old nanodiamonds from multiple locations across three continents August 27th, 2014

Aspen Aerogels, Inc. to Present at Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference August 27th, 2014

Nanotech Security Corp. to Acquire Fortress Optical Features Ltd., a Leading Producer of Banknote Security Features August 27th, 2014

Malvern specialists to deliver inaugural short course on polymer characterization at Interplas 2014 August 27th, 2014

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Rice physicist emerges as leader in quantum materials research: Nevidomskyy wins both NSF CAREER Award and Cottrell Scholar Award August 20th, 2014

Oxford Instruments Asylum Research Receives the 2014 Microscopy Today Innovation Award for blueDrive Photothermal Excitation August 18th, 2014

AQUANOVA receives Technology Leadership Award 2014 FROST & SULLIVAN honors NovaSOL® Technology again August 12th, 2014

Focal blood-brain-barrier disruption with high-frequency pulsed electric fields August 12th, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE