Syntheses of Englerin A, a Potent Renal Cancer Inhibitor

Terpenoids: Since the discovery of englerin A, a guaiane sesquiterpene possessing the characteristic tricyclic 5-6-5 fused ring framework with contiguous seven stereogenic centers, many synthetic groups have accomplished its chemical synthesis. This Focus Review covers various approaches towards the total syntheses of englerin A.

[Focus Review]

Shuichi Hagihara, Dr. Kengo Hanaya, Prof. Dr. Takeshi Sugai, Prof. Dr. Mitsuru Shoji


Recent Advances in the Metal-Catalyzed Activation of Amide Bonds

Get active, feel good: The amide functionality is thought to be inert, owing to resonance effects. However, transition metal catalysts can be used to activate the amide N−C bond, thereby facilitating further reactions. In this Focus Review, we discuss the recent advances in this area and present a summary of methods that have been developed for activating the amide N−C bond by using precious and non-precious metals.

[Focus Review]

Moreshwar B. Chaudhari, Prof. Boopathy Gnanaprakasam


Asymmetric Brook Rearrangement

Left or right: This Focus Review highlights the recent advancements in asymmetric Brook rearrangement, which is a rapidly evolving field. Several contemporary approaches are presented.

[Focus Review]

Nicholas Lee, Prof. Choon-Hong Tan, Dr. Dasheng Leow


Cross-linking Building Blocks Using a “Boronate Bridge” to Build Functional Hybrid Materials

Boronic acids have been used as molecular recognition tools to build functional materials. This review focuses on recent progress on research using boronic acids for cross-linking similar or dissimilar materials to construct functional hybrid nanomaterials. Functional properties of boronic acid moieties impart the materials with characteristic functions suitable for applications such as release systems, dynamic materials, and bioactive surfaces and scaffolds.

[Focus Review]

Dr. Masaki Nakahata, Prof. Dr. Shinji Sakai


Multifunctional Copper-Based Quaternary Chalcogenide Semiconductors Toward State-of-the-Art Energy Applications

Quaternary chalcogenide semiconductor materials have been of high interest owing to their effective photovoltaic applications. In recent time, many other quaternary chalcogenide semiconductor materials have emerged. In this present review article, newly developed, multifunctional Cu-based quaternary chalcogenides, their interesting chemical, optical, electric, and photocatalytic properties have been discussed and their implementation in various state-of-the-art applications has been reviewed.

[Focus Review]

Priya Kush, Sasanka Deka


Iron-Based Molecular Water Oxidation Catalysts: Abundant, Cheap, and Promising

Converting solar power: Promising iron-based molecular water oxidation catalysts (MWOCs) are reviewed (see figure). Reported catalysts, ligand optimization methods, the modification of anodes and photoanodes, and the identification of true catalysts are highlighted. Future outlooks for the development of more efficient and robust iron-based MWOCs are also provided.

[Focus Review]

Tianqi Liu, Dr. Biaobiao Zhang, Prof. Licheng Sun


Recent Advancements in Graphene-Based Supports of Metal Complexes/Oxides for Epoxidation of Alkenes

Solid foundations: Recent progress in the fabrication of graphene-based materials for the catalytic epoxidation (see figure) of different alkenes and possible reaction mechanisms are reviewed. Site isolation and synergistic interactions clearly improve the catalytic activity. The hydrophobicity of the support can also effectively improve the activity and epoxide selectivity.

[Focus Review]

Dr. Zhifang Li, Prof. Changlong Yang, Dr. Jinxing Cui, Dr. Yuanyuan Ma, Prof. Qiubin Kan, Dr. Jingqi Guan


Activation of Small Molecules by Compounds that Contain Triple Bonds Between Heavier Group-14 Elements

14-stone heavyweight champion: Recent developments in the area of sterically demanding substituents have facilitated the isolation of stable dimetallynes, that is, compounds that contain a triple bond between heavier group-14 elements. This review discusses recent reports on the reactivity of such dimetallynes toward small molecules with a focus on those reports that contain a combination of experimental and theoretical (quantum chemical methods) investigations.

[Focus Review]

Dr. Jing-Dong Guo, Prof. Dr. Takahiro Sasamori


Thermally Responsive Materials for Bioimaging

Hot response: Recently reported thermally responsive materials are highlighted and the applications of thermally responsive materials in bioimaging are summarized.

[Focus Review]

Dr. Yujing Zuo, Dr. Zhiming Gou, Yu Zhang, Tingxin Yang, Prof. Weiying Lin


Peptide Synthesis Utilizing Micro-flow Technology

Go with the flow: High-yielding, cost-effective, and less wasteful peptide syntheses are strongly required. Micro-flow synthesis has many advantages over conventional batch synthesis. This review summarizes the solid-phase and solution-phase micro-flow syntheses of α- and β-peptides, and cyclic peptides. In addition, micro-flow syntheses using amino acid N-carboxy anhydrides and native chemical ligation are summarized.

[Focus Review]

Dr. Shinichiro Fuse, Yuma Otake, Prof. Dr. Hiroyuki Nakamura


Discrete and Polymeric Self-Assembled Palladium(II) Complexes as Supramolecular Gelators

Does it gel? The gelation abilities of some self-assembled palladium(II) complexes and the unique properties of the resulting gels are reviewed. Discrete PdL, PdL2, Pd2L, Pd2L2, Pd2L4, and Pd3L6 complexes as gelators and gelation promoted by coordination-polymer-like gelators formed in situ are described (see figure). Untapped unique properties can be realized by further exploration of new designer palladium(II) complexes as gelators.

[Focus Review]

Dr. Sudhakar Ganta, Prof. Dr. Dillip Kumar Chand


Small-Ring Metathesis: Delights and Difficulties

A molecular origami: The metathetical opening of strained cyclopropene and cyclobutene rings is a well-established conversion, successfully used in several total syntheses and in the preparation of polymers. Concurrently, it is generally considered that small cyclic products cannot be easily made by ring-closing metathesis (RCM). The current reports on the preparation of substituted cyclobutenes via 1,5-enyne RCM changed this scenario. In recent years, there have been significant pieces of work on metathesis of strained three- and four-membered rings reported, which required a thorough review.

[Focus Review]

Dr. Biswajit Panda


Photolithographically Patterned Hydrogels with Programmed Deformations

Patterning-assisted deformations: This review summarizes recent progress on the programmed deformations of hydrogels, in which the heterogeneous structures are constructed with the assistance of photolithography. The control of outer shape or spatial distribution of the component affords the patterned hydrogels programmable deformations and promising applications in soft actuators, biomedical devices, etc.

[Focus Review]

Chen Yu Li, Xing Peng Hao, Prof. Zi Liang Wu, Prof. Qiang Zheng


Recent Advances in the Creation of Asymmetric Carbon Centre(s) by Generation of Carbon-Heteroatom Bond(s) Using Metal-Pybox Complexes

The review summarizes the reactions involving various Pybox-metal combinations used for asymmetric C-heteroatom bond manipulations. The applications of these reactions in the formation of important compounds, including heterocycles, are also discussed.

[Focus Review]

K. R. Rohit, Sankuviruthiyil M. Ujwaldev, Salim Saranya, Prof. Dr. Gopinathan Anilkumar


Surface Engineering of Two-dimensional Materials

Functionalization of 2D materials. Introducing vacancies, foreign atoms, and adatoms into graphene lattices and the construction of diverse heterostructures of transition metal dichalcogenides are summarized in this Focus Review.

[Focus Review]

Dr. Tianchao Niu, Dr. Jialin Zhang, Prof. Dr. Wei Chen