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Science 308 (5722): 667-669

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Amplification of Acetylcholine-Binding Catenanes from Dynamic Combinatorial Libraries

Ruby T. S. Lam, Ana Belenguer, Sarah L. Roberts, Christoph Naumann, Thibaut Jarrosson, Sijbren Otto, Jeremy K. M. Sanders*

Abstract: Directed chemical synthesis can produce a vast range of molecular structures, but the intended product must be known at the outset. In contrast, evolution in nature can lead to efficient receptors and catalysts whose structures defy prediction. To access such unpredictable structures, we prepared dynamic combinatorial libraries in which reversibly binding building blocks assemble around a receptor target. We selected for an acetylcholine receptor by adding the neurotransmitter to solutions of dipeptide hydrazones [proline-phenylalanine or proline-(cyclohexyl)alanine], which reversibly combine through hydrazone linkages. At thermodynamic equilibrium, the dominant receptor structure was an elaborate [2]-catenane consisting of two interlocked macrocyclic trimers. This complex receptor with a 100 nM affinity for acetylcholine could be isolated on a preparative scale in 67% yield.

Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: jkms{at}

Dynamic combinatorial synthesis of a catenane based on donor-acceptor interactions in water.
H. Y. Au-Yeung, G. D. Pantos, and J. K. M. Sanders (2009)
PNAS 106, 10466-10470
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Dynamic donor acceptor [2]catenanes.
O. S Miljanic and J. F. Stoddart (2007)
PNAS 104, 12966-12970
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

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