An Adaptable Peptide-Based Porous Material

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Science  27 Aug 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5995, pp. 1053-1057
DOI: 10.1126/science.1190672

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Porous materials find widespread application in storage, separation, and catalytic technologies. We report a crystalline porous solid with adaptable porosity, in which a simple dipeptide linker is arranged in a regular array by coordination to metal centers. Experiments reinforced by molecular dynamics simulations showed that low-energy torsions and displacements of the peptides enabled the available pore volume to evolve smoothly from zero as the guest loading increased. The observed cooperative feedback in sorption isotherms resembled the response of proteins undergoing conformational selection, suggesting an energy landscape similar to that required for protein folding. The flexible peptide linker was shown to play the pivotal role in changing the pore conformation.

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