The 2022 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to Carolyn R Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K Barry Sharpless “for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry”
- Sharpless was the first scientist to work on ‘click chemistry’ – a branch of science that explores the assembly of molecules.
- Meldal and Dr. Sharpless – independently of each other – presented the copper-catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC), a reaction that is now widely used in fields like medicinal chemistry. The CuAAC reaction is an improved form of the azide-alkyne Huisgen cycloaddition.
- Bertozzi improved the field further by developing click reactions that work inside living organisms. These bioorthogonal reactions do not disrupt the normal chemistry of the cell.
What is click chemistry?
- Click chemistry is a functional field where molecules snap together quickly and efficiently – literally like a click. It is defined as a “set of powerful, highly reliable, and selective reactions for the rapid synthesis of useful new compounds and combinatorial libraries through heteroatom links”.
Need of Click Chemistry
- Replicating reactions that involve bonds between carbon atoms – that are vital to the existence of life – is expensive and often leads to side reactions and loss of material.
- Instead of trying to make carbon atoms react with each other, Dr. Sharpless’s research focuses on using smaller molecules that already have a complete carbon frame. These molecules can further be linked using oxygen or nitrogen atoms as bridges.
- Simpler reactions, “where there is a strong intrinsic drive for the molecules to bond together”, may avoid the loss of material as well as the unwanted side reactions.
Source : The Hindu