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J Am Chem Soc. 2009 Mar 11;131(9):3186-8. doi: 10.1021/ja809612d.

Solvent-induced high fidelity switching between two discrete supramolecules.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 00931.


Here we show the reversible high fidelity switching between two discrete self-assembled supramolecules made from a lipophilic 8-phenyl-2'-deoxyguanosine derivative induced by an indirect solvent effect. A hexadecameric supramolecule containing four stacked tetramers is formed in acetonitrile aided by higher potassium concentrations. When the amount of weakly solvated potassium decreases, due the lower activity of potassium iodide in chloroform, an octamer is formed after the dissociation of the two outer tetramers in the hexadecamer. The switching process results from an unprecedented subtle interplay between the activity of potassium iodide and the steric crowding within the self-assembled structure. Besides the possible applications in nanoconstruction, this phenomenon sheds light into the mechanism of formation of self-assembled supramolecules made from guanosine derivatives.

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