Helix-Rod Host-Guest Complexes with Shuttling Rates Much Faster than Disassembly

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Science  04 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6021, pp. 1172-1175
DOI: 10.1126/science.1200143

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Dynamic assembly is a powerful fabrication method of complex, functionally diverse molecular architectures, but its use in synthetic nanomachines has been hampered by the difficulty of avoiding reversible attachments that result in the premature breaking apart of loosely held moving parts. We show that molecular motion can be controlled in dynamically assembled systems through segregation of the disassembly process and internal translation to time scales that differ by four orders of magnitude. Helical molecular tapes were designed to slowly wind around rod-like guests and then to rapidly slide along them. The winding process requires helix unfolding and refolding, as well as a strict match between helix length and anchor points on the rods. This modular design and dynamic assembly open up promising capabilities in molecular machinery.

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