Some very slick (click) chemistry

Hopefully the series of posts on the linear algebra underlying the postulates of QM were of some use.  They certainly took a lot longer to write than I initially thought.  As high school freshmen we read the Canterbury Tales (in translation).  My mother, an English major, had to learn old English in order  to read it in the original.  She could also recite it in old English, which was unintelligble to me even though I knew what she was saying.   Hopefully linear algebra is no longer this way for those hardy readers who plowed through all nine posts.  If you found mistakes or infelicities, please post your comments.

It’s back to organic chemistry and the magnificent Clayden et. al.   For an interesting paper see Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. vol. 107 pp. 1821 – 1826 ’10, which involves a form of click chemistry using an azide plus cyclooctYne, something undreamt of back in the 60s (both cyclooctyne and click chemistry).   The beauty of the technique is that it can be used in living animals without killing them.  Why?  Because copper isn’t used unlike earlier versions of click chemistry.

Copper is vital for us.  It’s found in enzymes which destroy biogenic amines (think norepinephrine and dopamine), which crosslink collagen and in the respiratory chain  (cytochrome c oxidase).  So without copper we die (or don’t begin to live).  However, copper by itself is quite toxic, and binding proteins exist to keep the concentration of Cu so low, that there is but one solvated Cu ion per cell [Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. vol. 102 pp. 11179 – 111184 ’05 ].  The balance is delicate as neurologic diseases result from too little copper in the brain (Menkes disease) and too much elsewhere (Menkes disease again).

A very clever paper, of interest to the chemist and the wider circle of chemical biologists, biochemists and physiologists.  I’m sure it will find wide application.

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  • Wavefunction  On February 11, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Cu can also interact with the Aß peptide and produce free radicals, or so they think.

    The metallobiology of Alzheimer’s disease.
    Bush, A. I.
    Trends Neurosci. 2003 Apr;26(4):207-14

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