Nobel Prize awarded for “Click Chemistry” – an environmentally friendly way to build molecules

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2022 granted Triple to develop click chemistry, an environmentally friendly way to quickly link molecules to develop cancer treatments, create materials and shed light on the way cells work.

Caroline R. Bertozzi of Stanford University in the United States, Morten Milldahl of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and K. Barry Sharpless of Scripps Research, also in the US, will share the 10 million SEK (£808,554) prize for ‘Development of Click Chemistry and Orthogonal Chemistry’.

Chemistry has made the modern world, from drugs to synthetic materials, from batteries to fuels, and flat screens to fertilizers. These innovations have often caused environmental and medical problems, clear examples of plastic pollution and health problems associated with “chemicals forever“.

So today’s chemists are fully aware of the need to consider the environment and the ethical impact of their creations. This prompted scientists to think carefully about how to innovate in a green and sustainable way, while creating new compounds and materials to meet the world’s challenges.

It is difficult to build new molecules. It often requires a large number of single chain reactions, each one hampered by side reactions that reduce sample purity. This increases the number and complexity of any other reaction steps, while producing harmful waste that needs careful and costly disposal.

how did that happen

This problem has already been solved Barry Sharpless In the early millennium. He coined the term “click chemistry”. It’s a concept in which molecules are simply, quickly, reliably and frequently bound together in the same way a seat belt is buckled. The idea was the chemical equivalent of a flat wardrobe, while everyone else was making furniture from scratch.

Sharpless also stipulated that tapping reactions should take place in water, rather than the harmful solvents commonly used by synthetic chemists to dissolve their reactants. This was a great concept because it would allow the creation of a fast, reliable and environmentally friendly molecule for new products.

But the challenge was making chemical belts and buckles. Morten Milldahl created the first example of click chemistry in 2008 while working on a well-studied reaction between two chemicals; Azides and Alkenes. These are often used to bind chemicals together, but they usually produce a muddy mess of reactants. But when copper was added to the mix, the reaction resulted in one incredibly stable product.

The reaction became very popular because it allowed chemists to quickly change the functions of a chemical or substance. There can be a chemical clamp attached to the fibers during manufacture and additional functions can be added later. The reaction made it easy to click on antibacterials, UV protection compounds, or materials that conduct electricity.

in 2004, Caroline Bertozzi He took click chemistry a step further by applying the principle to a biological problem. A common method for studying the behavior of molecules in a cell is to attach a glowing label that can be clearly seen under a microscope. However, attaching the label to exactly the correct part of the cell is difficult.

Bertozzi realized that click chemistry offered a solution. Unfortunately, copper, used in Meldal’s original method of chemistry, is toxic to living organisms, so it cannot be directly applied to the Bertozzi problem. Instead, I came up with a technology that works without copper. I attached “buckle” azide to a sugar molecule. This is absorbed into the cell, incorporated, and displayed on the cell surface. Then a modified alkaline substance (clip) attached to a fluorinated green molecule is added to the cell where it taps into a sugar azide. Then the cell can be easily tracked under the microscope.

Bertozzi’s technique has led to insights into how cancer cells evade our immune systems and helped develop methods for tracking cancer cells. It also helped direct radiation treatments to cancer cells, reducing damage to nearby healthy cells.

Elegant and effective click chemistry. It allowed chemicals to link together almost as seamlessly as tapping together two Lego blocks. Its simplicity saw its uses rapidly spread in the field of chemistry with applications in pharmaceuticals, DNA sequencing, and additive materials (such as magnetic and electrical). There is no doubt that the applications of this technology will expand and be applied to the world’s most pressing issues.


Mark LorchProfessor of Communication Sciences and Chemistry, University of Halle

This article has been republished from Conversation Under a Creative Commons License. Read the original article.

Leave a Comment