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Researchers create a photographic film of a molecular switch

Following the motion of a light-responsive molecule

22-Jun-2020

Molecular switches – they are the molecular counterparts of electrical switches and play an important role in many processes in nature. Such molecules can reversibly interconvert between two or more states and thereby control molecular processes. In living organisms, for example, they play a role ...

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Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

Researchers identify enzyme which becomes catalytically active by light

28-May-2020

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme ...

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Artificial ‘candy canes’ block viruses

Synthetic glycomimetics attach to the viruses’ binding sites, which viruses normally use to attach to sugars on the cell surface

22-Apr-2020

Synthetic chains of molecules containing different sugars can inhibit viruses effectively. The extent to which such molecules could be used as antiviral drugs is illustrated by a team of researchers from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and University of Münster (WWU) in the February ...

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Chemists allow boron atoms to migrate

Researchers present carbon-carbon couplings in which the semi-metal boron is retained

21-Jan-2020

Organic molecules with atoms of the semi-metal boron are among the most important building blocks for synthesis products that are needed to produce drugs and agricultural chemicals. However, during the usual chemical reactions used in industry, the valuable boron unit, which can replace another ...

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Two chiral catalysts working hand in hand

Chemists develop a synthetic method providing access to different stereoisomers of a molecule

05-Dec-2019

Just as our left hand is not superposable to our right hand, the mirror image of certain molecules cannot be overlapped onto it, even when turned or twisted. These two mirror images are referred to by chemists as enantiomers and the molecule is said to be chiral. Chirality, which is a word ...

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Light to build biologically active compounds

Photocatalyst builds 3D scaffolds from flat aromatics

18-Nov-2019

Some of the most biologically active molecules, including synthetic drugs, contain a central, nitrogen-containing chemical structure called an isoquinuclidine. This core has a three-dimensional shape which means it has the potential to interact more favourably with enzymes and proteins than flat, ...

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New insights into the evolution of proteins

23-Oct-2019

How do bacteria manage to adapt to synthetic environmental toxins and, for example, to even develop strategies for using a pesticide and chemical warfare agent as food within less than 70 years? The evolutionary adaptations underlying such processes have now been studied in detail by an ...

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Chemists give chance a helping hand

Developing a method for discovering new chemical reactions

03-Jul-2019

Whether they are synthetic materials such as PET and Teflon, medicines or flavourings, life without synthetically produced compounds is barely conceivable in our everyday lives today. The chemical industry depends on efficient, long-term methods of producing synthetically derived molecules. For ...

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Converting biomass by applying mechanical force

15-Mar-2019

One of the greatest global challenges is the efficient use of renewable sources in order to meet the increasing demand for energy and feedstock chemicals in the future. In this context, biomass is a promising alternative to existing fossil sources such as coal or oil. Cellulose plays a decisive ...

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Genes out of thin air

Precursors of genes constantly emerge "out of thin air" – but only a few survive for good

13-Sep-2018

Accumulating evidence suggests that new genes can arise spontaneously from previously non-coding DNA instead of through the gradual mutation of established genes. Bioinformaticians at the University of Münster are now, for the first time, studying the earliest stages in the emergence of such ...

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