Membrane-intercalating conjugated oligoelectrolytes

Chem Soc Rev. 2022 Dec 12;51(24):9917-9932. doi: 10.1039/d2cs00014h.


By acting as effective biomimetics of the lipid bilayers, membrane-intercalating conjugated oligoelectrolytes (MICOEs) can spontaneously insert themselves into both synthetic lipid bilayers and biological membranes. The modular and intentional molecular design of MICOEs enable a range of applications, such as bioproduction, biocatalysis, biosensing, and therapeutics. This tutorial review provides a structural evolution of MICOEs, which originated from the broader class of conjugated molecules, and analyses the drivers behind this evolutionary process. Various representative applications of MICOEs, accompanied by insights into their molecular design principles, will be reviewed separately. Perspectives on the current challenges and opportunities in research on MICOEs will be discussed at the end of the review to highlight their potential as unconventional and value-added materials for biological systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomimetics*
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Lipid Bilayers* / chemistry


  • Lipid Bilayers