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Chemistry. 2006 Oct 10;12(29):7652-67.

Anion binding versus intramolecular hydrogen bonding in neutral macrocyclic amides.

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Institute of Organic Chemistry Polish Academy of Sciences Kasprzaka 44/52, 01-224 Warsaw, Poland.


Although amide groups are important hydrogen-bond donors in natural and synthetic anion receptors, studies on structure-affinity relationships of amide-based macrocyclic receptors are still very limited. Therefore, we synthesized a series of macrocyclic tetraamides 5-8 derived from 1,3-benzenedicarboxylic (isophthalic) acid and aliphatic alpha,omega-diamines of different lengths. (1)H NMR titrations in DMSO solution show that the anion affinity of these receptors decreases with increasing size of the macrocycle irrespective of the anion, and this suggests a minor role of geometric complementarity. Comparison with their previously studied pyridine congeners reveals that the isophthalic acid based macrocycles are less potent, in contrast to what was found for simple model diamides. Combined theoretical and experimental structural studies were carried out to determine the reasons behind this behaviour. The results show that the unexpectedly low anion binding ability of the isophthalic acid-based receptors is due to the self-complementary nature of the isophthalic bis-amide fragments: when two such moieties are present within a sufficiently flexible macrocycle, they adopt syn-anti conformations and bind each other by two strong intramolecular hydrogen bonds that close the macrocyclic cavity. Nevertheless, anion binding is able to break these hydrogen bonds and switch a macrocycle into a convergent all-syn conformation. Despite the ill-preorganized conformation, 20-membered receptor 6 is better than either its open-chain analogue (macrocyclic effect) and/or its isomer having differently placed carbonyl groups. The crystal structures of four anion complexes of the macrocyclic receptors are reported. X-ray studies and solution NMR data confirmed the inclusive nature of the complexes and pointed to strong involvement of aromatic CH hydrogen atoms in anion binding.

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