A molecular communication channel consisting of a single reversible chain of hydrogen bonds in a conformationally flexible oligomer



Morris, David TJ, Wales, Steven M, Tilly, David P, Farrar, Elliot HE, Grayson, Matthew N, Ward, John W ORCID: 0000-0001-7186-6416 and Clayden, Jonathan
(2021) A molecular communication channel consisting of a single reversible chain of hydrogen bonds in a conformationally flexible oligomer. Chem, 7 (9). pp. 2460-2472.

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Abstract

Communication of information through the global switching of conformation in synthetic molecules has hitherto entailed the inversion of chirality. Here, we report a class of oligomer through which information may be communicated through a global reversal of polarity. Ethylene-bridged oligoureas are constitutionally symmetrical, conformationally flexible molecules organized by a single chain of hydrogen bonds running the full length of the oligomer. NMR reveals that this hydrogen-bonded chain may undergo a coherent reversal of directionality. The directional uniformity of the hydrogen-bond chain allows it to act as a channel for the spatial communication of information on a molecular scale. A binding site at the terminus of an oligomer detects local information about changes in pH or anion concentration and transmits that information—in the form of a directionality switch in the hydrogen-bond chain—to a remote polarity-sensitive fluorophore. This propagation of polarity-encoded information provides a new mechanism for molecular communication.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Physical Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2021 15:55
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2023 21:23
DOI: 10.1016/j.chempr.2021.06.022
Open Access URL: https://www.cell.com/chem/fulltext/S2451-9294(21)0...
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URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3144528