Many chemists are motivated by the ambition to create compounds that becoming more and more complex. However, the Nobel Committee decided to award this year’s chemistry Nobel Prize for a phenomena that makes challenging procedures simpler. Making complex chemical reactions easy is the main goal of the Click Chemistry that earned Morten Meldal, Barry Sharpless, and Carolyn Bertozzi this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The dawn of the functionalism period in chemistry, fueled by click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions that take place without interfering with cellular normality, has been of the greatest value to humanity.
The foundations for a functional form of chemistry were created by Morten Meldal of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and Barry Sharpless of Scripps Research in the United States. Carolyn Bertozzi of Stanford University developed this Click Chemistry and started employing it in living organisms.
“The Chemistry Prize for this year emphasises working with what is straightforward and uncomplicated rather than complicating things. Even a simple path can lead to the creation of functional molecules, “said Nobel Committee for Chemistry Chair Johan Aqvist.
Barry Sharpless, who assumed the initiative on this project and set the wheels in motion, has already won two Chemistry Nobel prizes.
Around 2000, he developed the idea of click chemistry. It was a kind of dependable, straightforward chemistry that produces rapid reactions without unintended byproducts.
Later, the azide-alkyne cycloaddition that was copper catalysed by Meldal and Sharpless (independent of one another) supplied the icing on the Click Chemistry cake.
Azide is an organic molecule with a N3 atom, whereas alkyne is a type of hydrocarbon with at least one triple bond between carbon atoms. The discovery of pharmaceuticals, DNA mapping, and the production of materials that are better suited for their intended use are just a few applications for this straightforward and efficient chemical reaction that is now widely used.
Bertozzi brought Click Chemistry to a higher level. She created click reactions that operate within living things to map crucial but elusive proteins called glycans on the surface of cells.
Today, scientists employ these reactions everywhere to study cells and monitor biological processes. Bioorthogonal reactions have enhanced the targeting of cancer treatments, and they are currently being explored in clinical studies.