Solvent-induced high fidelity switching between two discrete supramolecules

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


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetonitriles / chemistry*
  • Chloroform / chemistry*
  • Guanosine / analogs & derivatives
  • Guanosine / chemical synthesis*
  • Guanosine / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemical synthesis
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Molecular Structure
  • Solvents / chemistry


  • Acetonitriles
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Solvents
  • Guanosine
  • Chloroform