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      Self-assembly of amphiphilic dendritic dipeptides into helical pores.

      Nature

      Stereoisomerism, Biological Transport, Biopolymers, chemistry, metabolism, Calorimetry, Differential Scanning, Circular Dichroism, Dipeptides, Hydrogen Bonding, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Microscopy, Electron, Models, Molecular, Porosity, Protein Structure, Quaternary, Protons

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          Abstract

          Natural pore-forming proteins act as viral helical coats and transmembrane channels, exhibit antibacterial activity and are used in synthetic systems, such as for reversible encapsulation or stochastic sensing. These diverse functions are intimately linked to protein structure. The close link between protein structure and protein function makes the design of synthetic mimics a formidable challenge, given that structure formation needs to be carefully controlled on all hierarchy levels, in solution and in the bulk. In fact, with few exceptions, synthetic pore structures capable of assembling into periodically ordered assemblies that are stable in solution and in the solid state have not yet been realized. In the case of dendrimers, covalent and non-covalent coating and assembly of a range of different structures has only yielded closed columns. Here we describe a library of amphiphilic dendritic dipeptides that self-assemble in solution and in bulk through a complex recognition process into helical pores. We find that the molecular recognition and self-assembly process is sufficiently robust to tolerate a range of modifications to the amphiphile structure, while preliminary proton transport measurements establish that the pores are functional. We expect that this class of self-assembling dendrimers will allow the design of a variety of biologically inspired systems with functional properties arising from their porous structure.

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          Most cited references 27

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          Supramolecular Chemistry

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            The structure of the potassium channel: molecular basis of K+ conduction and selectivity.

            The potassium channel from Streptomyces lividans is an integral membrane protein with sequence similarity to all known K+ channels, particularly in the pore region. X-ray analysis with data to 3.2 angstroms reveals that four identical subunits create an inverted teepee, or cone, cradling the selectivity filter of the pore in its outer end. The narrow selectivity filter is only 12 angstroms long, whereas the remainder of the pore is wider and lined with hydrophobic amino acids. A large water-filled cavity and helix dipoles are positioned so as to overcome electrostatic destabilization of an ion in the pore at the center of the bilayer. Main chain carbonyl oxygen atoms from the K+ channel signature sequence line the selectivity filter, which is held open by structural constraints to coordinate K+ ions but not smaller Na+ ions. The selectivity filter contains two K+ ions about 7.5 angstroms apart. This configuration promotes ion conduction by exploiting electrostatic repulsive forces to overcome attractive forces between K+ ions and the selectivity filter. The architecture of the pore establishes the physical principles underlying selective K+ conduction.
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              Water conduction through the hydrophobic channel of a carbon nanotube.

              Confinement of matter on the nanometre scale can induce phase transitions not seen in bulk systems. In the case of water, so-called drying transitions occur on this scale as a result of strong hydrogen-bonding between water molecules, which can cause the liquid to recede from nonpolar surfaces to form a vapour layer separating the bulk phase from the surface. Here we report molecular dynamics simulations showing spontaneous and continuous filling of a nonpolar carbon nanotube with a one-dimensionally ordered chain of water molecules. Although the molecules forming the chain are in chemical and thermal equilibrium with the surrounding bath, we observe pulse-like transmission of water through the nanotube. These transmission bursts result from the tight hydrogen-bonding network inside the tube, which ensures that density fluctuations in the surrounding bath lead to concerted and rapid motion along the tube axis. We also find that a minute reduction in the attraction between the tube wall and water dramatically affects pore hydration, leading to sharp, two-state transitions between empty and filled states on a nanosecond timescale. These observations suggest that carbon nanotubes, with their rigid nonpolar structures, might be exploited as unique molecular channels for water and protons, with the channel occupancy and conductivity tunable by changes in the local channel polarity and solvent conditions.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                15306805
                10.1038/nature02770

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