Home / News / India /  What is Click Chemistry that won chemistry trio Nobel Prize?

Building increasingly complicated molecules is a desire that drives many chemists. But, for this year's chemistry Nobel Prize, the Nobel Committee chose the prize for a phenomenon that works to make difficult processes easier. The Click Chemistry that won Morten Meldal, Barry Sharpless, and Carolyn Bertozzi this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry is all about making huge chemical reactions simple.

The greatest benefit to humanity is the beginning of the era of functionalism for chemistry and the click chemistry and bioorthogonal reactions, which occur without interfering with the normal functioning of the cell, have propelled that era.

Barry Sharpless of Scripps Research in the United States and Morten Meldal of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark laid the groundwork for a functional form of chemistry in which molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently while Carolyn Bertozzi of Stanford University expanded on this Click Chemistry and began using it in living organisms.

"This year's Prize in Chemistry deals with not overcomplicating matters, instead working with what is easy and simple. Functional molecules can be built even by taking a straightforward route," said Johan Aqvist, Chair of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry.

This is the second chemistry Nobel for Barry Sharpless who took the lead in this project and started the ball rolling.

He coined the concept of Click Chemistry around 2000. It was a form of simple and reliable chemistry where reactions are quick without unwanted by-products.

Later, Meldal and Sharpless (independent of each other) provided the crown of the Click Chemistry- the copper catalysed azide-alkyne cycloaddition.

Azide is an N3 organic compound, whereas an alkyne is a hydrocarbon with at least one carbon-carbon triple bond. This simple and effective chemical reaction is now widely used in the development of drugs, mapping DNA, and creating materials that are more fit for purpose, among many other things.

Bertozzi elevated Click Chemistry to new heights. She developed click reactions that work inside living organisms to map important but elusive biomolecules on the surface of cells called glycans.

These reactions are now used all over the world to investigate cells and track biological processes. Researchers have improved the targeting of cancer drugs using bioorthogonal reactions, which are now being tested in clinical trials.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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