Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Chem Soc. 2007 May 2;129(17):5735-43. Epub 2007 Apr 7.

Molecular basis for water-promoted supramolecular chirality inversion in helical rosette nanotubes.

Author information

National Institute for Nanotechnology, Department of Chemistry, University of Alberta, 11421 Saskatchewan Drive, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Helical rosette nanotubes (RNTs) are obtained through the self-assembly of the GwedgeC motif, a self-complementary DNA base analogue featuring the complementary hydrogen bonding arrays of both guanine and cytosine. The first step of this process is the formation of a 6-membered supermacrocycle (rosette) maintained by 18 hydrogen bonds, which then self-organizes into a helical stack defining a supramolecular sextuple helix whose chirality and three-dimensional organization arise from the chirality, chemical structure, and conformational organization of the GwedgeC motif. Because a chiral GwedgeC motif is predisposed to express itself asymmetrically upon self-assembly, there is a natural tendency for it to form one chiral RNT over its mirror image. Here we describe the synthesis and characterization of a chiral GwedgeC motif that self-assembles into helical RNTs in methanol, but undergoes mirror image supramolecular chirality inversion upon the addition of very small amounts of water (<1% v/v). Extensive physical and computational studies established that the mirror-image RNTs obtained, referred to as chiromers, result from thermodynamic (in water) and kinetic (in methanol) self-assembly processes involving two conformational isomers of the parent GwedgeC motif. Although derived from conformational states, the chiromers are thermodynamically stable supramolecular species, they display dominant/recessive behavior, they memorize and amplify their chirality in an achiral environment, they change their chirality in response to solvent and temperature, and they catalytically transfer their chirality. On the basis of these studies, a detailed mechanism for supramolecular chirality inversion triggered by specific molecular interactions between water molecules and the GwedgeC motif is proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center