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Book Review Fundamentals of Crystallography. (Series IUC Texts on Crystallography Vol. 2.) Edited by C

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With the opening of this new chapter in cellular signalling
it was soon clear that there was a prime need for synthetic
chemical involvement, and there has been a very significant
revival of interest in the chemistry of inositols since the mid1980s, beginning with the first synthesis of Ins(l,4,5)P3 in
1986. While progress here has also been relatively rapid, and
necessarily highly competitive, the chemistry of the new inositol phosphates is still a small enough field to be concisely
reviewed. Until now, however, there have only been two
comprehensive major chemical reviews in this area, and one,
indeed, by the author of this present book. While “The Inositol Phosphates” clearly represents a useful addition to this
literature, I admit to being more than a little apprehensive
about how much further this book could go in relation to
these existing reviews.
The chemical synthesis of inositol polyphosphates presented a number of problems, namely: the regiospecific protection of inositol in order to afford suitable intermediates
for phosphorylation; the optical resolution of such intermediates; the polyphosphorylation of intermediates possessing
vicinal diol functionalities, where it is essential to avoid the
facile formation of 5-membered cyclic phosphates; deblocking of fully protected polyphosphates, without concomitant
migration of phosphate groups; and finally, purification of
the final water-soluble polyphosphate. Essentially, these
problems have all been overcome and it is now, at least in
principle, possible to synthesize any inositol polyphosphate.
This message is well conveyed by the book. Much effort,
however, is still being expended in the development of novel
routes to optically active inositol phosphates and improvement upon the established methods developed to combat the
above problems. All this information, and more, with clear
summaries of a large number of synthetic strategies, is provided excellently in this book. Although clearly aimed at
chemists, it would perhaps also be useful to biologists who
want a concise survey of chemical progress and, as many do,
a basic grounding in the more structural, and particularly
stereochemical, aspects of this field. In view of this, the biological background here, while adequate for a chemical audience, forms only a minor part of the book and the author,
wisely, does not attempt to become embroiled in any of the
many controversies currently raging in this expansive field.
After equipping the reader in the earlier chapters with
enough background biology to understand the rationale behind the synthetic work, the author launches into Chapter 3
which discusses in depth the basic problems of inositol
polyphosphate synthesis, namely the protection, phosphorylation, deprotection, and resolution steps mentioned above.
A systematic treatment of mono-, bis-, tris-, and tetrakisphosphates then follows, with detailed accounts of various
approaches, covering most of the chemical literature up to
1991. A most welcome Chapter 8 describes some of the efforts expended in the synthesis of inositol phosphate analogues, now a major theme in organic chemistry, with the
prospect of developing enzyme inhibitors, receptor antagonists, and perhaps even therapeutic agents of the future.
The final chapter provides an insight into some of the
more recent synthetic activity, including some 1992 publications. Nevertheless, I regretted that the book as a whole
could not be more up-to-date, presumably due to the production time-scale. As always in such a field, review articles
and books run the risk of rapidly becoming out of date, and
sadly this has been all too true for biological articles and
books on the polyphosphoinositide pathway. However,
since the volume of chemical work is clearly smaller than
that in biology, and the synthetic chemistry reported here is
well established and not the subject of anywhere near as
Verlagsgesellschajt mbH, 0-69451 Weinheim. 1993
much controversy, this may be less important in this case. I
felt that the book ended rather abruptly, and I would have
liked to see space given to a concise summary of chemical
progress to date and, more especially, to speculation, philosophical and otherwise, on future chemical directions in this
research area.
Despite these shortcomings, I can recommend “The Inositol Phosphates” to anyone who requires a comprehensive
summary of some seven years of chemical research in this
rapidly expanding field. It will provide an invaluable compendium for anyone contemplating synthetic work in this
area. This book deserves a place upon the bookshelf of any
active inositol phosphate or carbohydrate chemist, and it
will hopefully give encouragement and heart to those
chemists who have been too afraid of the fast-moving nature
of this field to join in the game.
B. V. L. Potter
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
School of Pharmacy & Pharmacology
University of Bath (UK)
Fundamentals of Crystallography. (Series: IUC Texts on
Crystallography, Vol. 2.) Edited by C.Giucovazzo. International Union of Crystallography, Oxford University
Press, Oxford, 1992. XI, 654 pp., paperback f 27.50.ISBN 0-19-855 578-4
Although chemical crystallography has undergone rapid
developments and become more widely used during the last
few decades, one could hardly claim that this has been accompanied by a corresponding surge in the publication of
up-to-date monographs and textbooks on the subject. As in
most cases, exceptions prove the rule; in particular the International Union of Crystallography has recently published a
number of excellent books that go some way towards remedying this. The volume reviewed here also belongs to this
category; under the editorship of C. Giacovazzo it deals with
important aspects of modern crystallography, mainly chemical. All the authors areeminent representatives of the Italian
school of crystallography, as also is the editor who has contributed three of the chapters.
What detailed aspects are covered? Appropriately one
should first mention the three chapters by C. Giacovazzo:
“Symmetry in Crystals”, “Crystallographic Computing”,
and “The Diffraction of X-Rays by Crystals”. These are
followed by “Experimental Methods in X-Ray Crystallography” (H. L. Monaco), “Solution and Refinement of Crystal
Structures” (D. Viterbo), “Ionic Crystals” (F. Scordari),
“Molecules and Molecular Crystals” (G. Gilli), and “Protein
Crystallography” (G. Zanotti). The book ends with a treatment of “Physical Properties of Crystals” by M. Catti. The
last four chapters introduce aspects of crystal structure science that go far beyond merely describing the tools used for
structure determination, and especially here one notes with
approval that the authors have avoided following well-trodden paths in their presentation of the material. The book also
excels by the exemplary way in which this has been done, and
by the unusually clear layout, which is in the style of the
textbooks by Atkins (lots of attractive illustrations and diagrams!). Furthermore, each chapter includes an account of
the latest developments, while always taking care to put
these into a practical context, which is a highly commendable
approach. Thus the book makes very worthwhile reading,
even for those with long experience in using the methods,
especially as there are plentiful references to recent relevant
0570-0833/93/0707-1104$ /0.00+ ,2510
Angew. Chem. In[. Ed. Engi. 1993, 32, No. 7
literature (about 850 citations!). A few minor criticisms follow. Chapter 2 on “Crystallographic Computing” seems a
little out of place, and it would probably have been better to
treat this subject in conjunction with “Solution and Refinement of Crystal Structures”. The treatment of molecular
crystals could definitely have been improved by omitting the
discussion of bonding theory, which is in any case very elementary, and instead devoting more space to molecular mechanics. Lastly, the index could have been made rather more
To summarize, this book can certainly be recommended,
and the remarkably low price is a further reason for approval. However, one might ask: is it only for the specialist?
Happily it is not. It is exactly because it treats the more
chemical and physical aspects of crystals and crystal structures that it should also be read by those who are interested
only in the results of crystal structure determinations. If at
the same time these readers take a glance a t the sections on
techniques, so much the better. However, all readers must be
prepared to recognize that the authors make few concessions
to those who would prefer a non-mathematical treatment.
Gerhard Miiller
Fakultat fur Chemie
der Universitat Konstanz (FRG)
Chemistry of the Solid-Water Interface. Processes at the Mineral-Water and Particle-Water Interface in Natural Systems. By W Stumm. Wiley, Chichester, 1992. X, 428 pp.,
paperback 2 32.50.-ISBN 0-471-57672-7
The distribution and reactions of substances present in
water are crucially affected by processes at the solid-water
interfaces, and consequently the understanding of interfacial
reactions has become one of the most important tasks for
modern chemistry and neighboring disciplines. Where the
interest is combined with ecological aspects, this task offers
a particularly attractive field for those involved in water
research. Werner Stumm, one of the leading pioneers of systematic water research, has made an important contribution
towards the solution of this problem.
By approaching the subject from a physicochemical standpoint and making use of the latest knowledge, the author has
written a textbook that is of value not only to water chemists
but also to geochemists, chemical engineers, and others with
an interest in aquatic systems. What are the main aspects
covered? The introduction at once identifies adsorption, surface complexation, and colloids as topics for detailed consideration. This is followed by necessary digressions into the
coordination chemistry of oxide surfaces with both inner
sphere and outer sphere complexes and into surface charges,
including an impressive image of a lead sulfide surface obtained by scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), which is
also reproduced on the book’s dust-cover.
The substances dealt with in the chapter on adsorption
include synthetic surface-active agents from detergents, soilderived substances, and various others that cannot be precisely identified but are of hydrological importance. Modern
approaches to this topic emphasize the importance of kinetics and reversibility. The role of surface-controlled solvation
processes in weathering is discussed in relation to precipitation studies, and the behavior of minute particles is considered from the standpoints of nucleation and solubility. On
the important topic of the stability of colloidal systems the
author discusses the particleeparticle interactions in considerable detail. In contrast, the chapter on the reactivity and
Angeiv. Clicm. I n / . EN‘. Engl. 1993, 32, No. 7
solubility of carbonates is relatively brief, giving the impression that readers are expected to be already familiar with this
classical topic. Under redox processes the vanadates find a
place as comparative outsiders alongside the iron and manganese compounds usually considered in this context.
The book ends with two chapters written by Stumm’s
coworkers: one on heterogeneous photochemistry (B. Sulberger) and another on trace levels of elements in surface
waters (L. Sigg). Both articles begin with the theoretical fundamentals and lead up to examples illustrating the practical
importance of the results. Not surprisingly, iron again
emerges here as the main performer!
The literature references given for each of the eleven chapters are a good representative selection. The many schemes
and diagrams are a useful aid to understanding the otherwise
not readily digestible text. The didactic value of the book lies
in its successful progression from simple considerations
through more complex ideas to the applications. The textbook character is reinforced by the appendixes attached to
the individual chapters, which include amplification of particular points, examples from practical situations, and exercise problems. It is unfortunate that this excellent approach
has only been consistently followed in the early chapters.
Also students would have greatly appreciated being given
solutions, which they could use when appropriate, to the
often quite difficult exercise problems. However. even without such help they will benefit greatly from working through
this well written and sturdily produced book. It will quickly
find a place on the desks of those who teach water science
and others working in the field of heterogeneous aquatic
Fritz H . Frimmel
Lehrstuhl fur Wasserchemie
der Universitat Karlsruhe (FRG)
Metals in Biological Systems. By M . J. Kendrick, M . 7: May,
M . J. Plishka and K. D. Robinson. Ellis Horwood, New
York, 1992. 183 pp., hardcover $68.00.-1SBN 0-13577 721-5
There has been a need for an updated text a t this level to
cover short ( 5 - 10 lecture) undergraduate courses in the fastmoving field of metals in biological systems, so this publication will be of interest to students and teachers of the subject.
The subject is now a required component of most chemistry
courses, and is taught to students of biochemistry and medicinal chemistry. The book aims to provide both introductory
and background material to the subject for over a dozen
metal ions, together with details of physical techniques required for their study. The authors faced the considerable
problem of what to leave out in such a book. Their selection
of topics is pertinent and timely, but may not suit all potential readers. The book appears to aim at the market already
covered by the more detailed book of M. N. Hughes (1972,
2981) o r that by R. W! Hay (1983). Despite the advantage of
its more recent publication date, the book under review is
unlikely to replace these established texts, although it could
be used to supplement either.
Certain aspects of this book make it unsuitable as an undergraduate text; indeed only sections of it could be recommended, and then only if accompanied by errata slips. The
coverage of the topics is very uneven, betraying the four
different hands involving in the writing, and a lack of cohesive
overview of the camera-ready copy. The introduction illustrates the uneven approach, comprising a brief 1 -2-page sum-
VCH Verla~sgesellsc.hafim h H , 0-69451 Weinheim, 1993
057U-0833/93/0707-1105 $ 10.00f ,2510
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