Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2022: Click Chemistry and Bioorthogonal Chemistry
There are no chemists, biochemists and biologists that do not know the basic features of “click chemistry” and the great advantages of this new strategy for connecting molecules, even complex ones, in a simple, efficient, selective way under mild aqueous conditions. The 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Barry Sharpless (The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla California), Morten Meldal (University of Copenhagen) and Carolyn Bertozzi (University of Stanford) is the recognition of the fundamental importance of this new synthetic methodology for connecting two molecular fragments, even very complex ones like biomolecules and biopolymers. The story of “click chemistry” is not very old compared to other great discoveries in chemistry, in fact in about 20 years we moved from the first examples published to the award of the Nobel prize.
In 2001 Sharpless, that the same year was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the studies on the asymmetric catalysis, proposed the term “click chemistry” related to “a series of nearly perfect spring-loaded reactions” particularly interesting for making new chemical bonds with minimal by-product formation, high atom efficiency, high yield and simple purification. In the same period serendipitously Meldal observed that in particular one of these reactions, the 1,3-dipolar Huisgen cycloaddition between alkynes and organic azides providing 1H-[1,2,3]-triazoles derivatives, could be efficiently catalyzed by small amounts of copper salts selectively leading to the 1.4-regioisomer under mild experimental conditions. More importantly, he underlined the peculiarity of the reaction to be insensitive to the presence of many different functional groups.
The orthogonality of the reaction combined to its high efficiency, ease of use, compatibility with multiple organic solvents, including the aqueous environment, and reproducibility under different temperature and pH conditions instantly stimulated interest in the use of this conjugation for the functionalization of biomolecules present in complex biological systems. However, the use of click chemistry for such applications was limited by the toxicity of copper ions to cells and living organisms. It was therefore essential to identify conditions that avoided the use of copper, a challenge that Bertozzi's research group faced immediately with outstanding results. It was Bertozzi herself in 2003 who coined the term “bioorthogonal chemistry”. To modify selectively and under physiological conditions the biomolecules present in living organisms, without interrupting or interfering with the surrounding vital cellular processes, the key functional groups azide and alkyne were maintained but made intrinsically more reactive to eliminate copper while ensuring a high selectivity, activity, yield and orthogonality with respect to most biomolecules.
The combination of "click chemistry" and "bioorthogonal chemistry" have had a huge impact in multiple areas. For example, the use of "click chemistry" and "bioorthogonal chemistry" has allowed the mapping and understanding of the role of biomolecules present on the surface of cells and involved in cell recognition and intercellular communication. Over the past 20 years, the application of these methodologies has allowed the development of new precision biotherapies for the treatment of diseases such as cancer and inflammatory disorders such as arthritis. The selectivity of this reaction has also allowed the development of point-of-care diagnostic systems for the rapid identification of pathogens, such as tuberculosis.
"Click chemistry" and "bioorthogonal chemistry" have also been used for the design of advanced next-generation biomaterials for multiple biomedical applications such as tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, precision imaging, cell therapy and drug delivery. Finally, these methodologies have allowed the development of new herbicides, photostabilizers, corrosion retardants, brightening agents and multiple macromolecular materials such as gels and polymers.
The story of this Nobel prize in chemistry teaches a couple of important lessons for chemists: it is crucial to pay attention to unexpected results that sometimes pop-up when performing scientific experiments, rather than ignoring them because not desired, since they can eventually lead to great discoveries. It is also fundamental to recognize the potentialities of a new result, and only with an interdisciplinary vision it is possible to bring such result to a higher degree of complexity, making a real step forward for the scientific community and for the entire humankind.
Ca' Foscari University of Venice, as part of its institutional aims and in fulfillment of the obligations set forth in article 13 of the EU Regulation 2016/679 ("Regulation"), gives you information regarding the processing of personal data collected by cookies and/or similar technologies when you visit the www.unive.it website (“Website”). Cookies are small pieces of information that a website sends to the user’s device where it is automatically stored and then sent back to the same website or to a third party every time that the website is visited using the same device.
In this notice, the term “cookie” will mean cookies as defined above as well as any other similar tracking technology used in the Website.
1. Data Controller
The data controller is Ca' Foscari University of Venice, with headquarters in Dorsoduro n. 3246, 30123 Venice (VE), legally represented by the Rector pro tempore.
2. Data Protection Officer
The University has appointed a "Data Protection Officer" ("DPO"), who can be contacted by writing to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or to the following address: Ca' Foscari University, Venice, Data Protection Officer, Dorsoduro n. 3246, 30123 Venice (VE).
3. Types of cookies, data collect, purposes and legal basis
The cookies used on the website are (please refer to the cookie list for specific information on each cookie):
essential cookies: cookies that are necessary to support the login system and the access to the “Personal Area” of the Website as well as to remember users’ cookie preferences.
Personal data associated with these cookie is: user’s IP address, date and time of the visit, means of data transfer, requested resource, response, response size in byte, link connected to the user requesting the resource, user’s operating system, browser and device used. The legal basis for this processing activity is represented by art. 6.1.b) (“performance of a service asked by the data subject”) and art. 6.1.e) of the Regulation (“execution of a task of public interest or connected to the exercise of public powers''). Being the University is a public body and it is required to have a website where the users can find useful information on its activities (artt. 53 e 54 D.lgs. n. 82/2005). You can disable these cookies at any time by clicking on the “click here to change your cookie preferences” button, this action will only have an effect on the navigation of the Personal Area.
analytics cookies: cookies that collect aggregated and statistical data on the navigation of the Website aimed at measuring the number of visits for each page of the Websites as well as the performance and the usability of the Website. The analytics cookies used on the Website are “Web Analytics Italia” set by the Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AGID). Personal data associated with these cookies is: user’s IP address, date and time of the visit, means of data transfer, requested resource, response, response size in byte, link connected to the user requesting the resource, user’s operating system, browser and device used, number of pages visited, ecc. The legal basis for this processing activity is represented by art. 6.1.e) of the Regulation (“execution of a task of public interest or connected to the exercise of public powers''), as the University aims at collecting statistical data on the visits of its Website pages especially with regards to the pages of “Amministrazione Trasparente”. You can disable these cookies at any time by clicking on the “click here to change your cookie preferences” button, this action will have no effect on your navigation.
third party cookies (social media and profiling): these cookies are set by third parties that collect the data in order to analyze the navigation and the preferences of the users. On the website, there are cookies set by Facebook called Facebook-Pixel, aimed at collecting data to target promotional content to specific users, and by Google namely Google-Youtube that allow users to watch Youtube videos on the Website and the University to measure the performance of its communication campaigns. These cookies are managed by Facebook and Google respectively and the University only processes anonymous and statistical information collected by them, who act as joint controllers on the basis of the CJEU ruling n. C-210/16 (5 June 2018). The legal basis for this processing activity is represented by art. 6.1.a) of the Regulation (“consent of the data subject''). The first time you land on the Website, a banner pops up asking whether you consent to enable these cookies. If you do not consent or withdraw consent at a later time through the “click here to change your cookie preferences” button, this will have no effect on your navigation.
You can always manage your cookie preferences through the browser setting. If you disable all cookies, please note that some activities on the website will not be possible anymore (i.e. the ones on the pages accessible in the Personal Area). To find out more on how to manage cookies through browser settings, please visit:
The processing of personal data will be carried out by authorized employees (in compliance with Article 29 of the Regulation and art. 2-quaterdecies of D. lgs. 196/2003), with the use of computerized procedures, adopting appropriate technical and organizational measures to protect them from unauthorized or illegal access, destruction, loss of integrity and confidentiality, even if accidental in nature.
5. Data retention
For information on the retention period of each cookie, please refer to the list below.
6. Recipients and categories of recipients of personal data and data transfer outside the European Economic Area
For the purposes set out above, in addition to specifically authorized employees and collaborators of the University, personal data may also be processed by those who execute outsourced activities on behalf of the University in their capacity as data processors (the updated list is available at: https://www.unive.it/pag/36643/).
Personal data collected by third party cookies may be transferred outside the European Economic Area (EEA) in compliance with the provisions of the Regulation.
7. Data subjects rights and how to exercise them
As a data subject, you have the right to obtain from the University, in the cases provided for by the Regulation, the access, the rectification and the erasure of your personal data as well as ask for the limitation of the processing of your personal data or to object to the data processing itself (articles 15 and following of the Regulation). The request can be submitted, without any particular formal procedures, by contacting the Data Protection Officer directly at email@example.com or by sending a communication to the following address: Ca' Foscari University of Venice - Data Protection Officer, Dorsoduro 3246, 30123 Venice. Alternatively, you can contact the Data Controller, by writing a PEC (certified email) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Data subjects, who believe that the processing of their personal data is in violation of the provisions of the Regulation, have the right to file a complaint with the Data Protection Authority, as provided for by art. 77 of the Regulation, or to take legal action (art. 79 of the Regulation).
Appendix on social media:
In addition to the privacy notice published at: www.unive.it/pag/29567, the University provides you with information on the processing of your personal data collected through its social media pages (Facebook, Instagram). In particular, the University only processes anonymous and statistical information collected by the social media providers, who act as joint controllers on the basis of the CJEU ruling n. C-210/16 (5 June 2018). Moreover, the University informs you that when you leave a comment or a post on its social media pages, it will process your data only to administer your request/comment.
Last updated: 27/07/2022
List of cookies
Last update of the list of cookies: 27/7/2022
They maintain the session data of the SingleSignOn.