Chemistry Nobel Prize : How ‘clicking’ molecules will change our lives
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry to the American Barry Sharpless and the Dane Morten Meldal for developing click chemistry.
For Sharpless, this is the second Nobel Prize. He received the first in 2001 for the creation of chiral catalysts for redox reactions used in the pharmaceutical industry.
It is a new principle for effectively connecting molecules, as well as to the American Caroline Bertozzi, who applied it to living cells.
“Meldal and Sharpless developed the basics of click chemistry, and Bertozzi figured out how to use it to sew labels to biological molecules and introduce them into cells,” explains Nechaev. “This is a universal, very effective tool for solving various problems in molecular biology and medicine.”
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Meldal and Sharpless added monovalent copper as a catalyst, and the reaction began to proceed at temperatures close to room temperature, and approximately 107 times faster. Now this elegant and highly effective chemical process is used in the development of pharmaceuticals and modified organosynthetic materials, in DNA sequencing technologies, basic research on cell function and the creation of new biomolecules.