Probing Exchange Pathways in One-Dimensional Aggregates with Super-Resolution Microscopy

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Science  02 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6183, pp. 491-495
DOI: 10.1126/science.1250945

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Examining Supramolecular Exchange

Microtubules are a natural example of a one-dimensional (1D) supramolecular structure. Synthetic examples of 1D fibrils often have monomers linked by weak noncovalent interactions that allow monomers to exchange in and out of the fibrils. Albertazzi et al. (p. 491) used a combination of super-resolution microscopy on individual fibrils and stochastic simulation to study monomer exchange in fibrils formed from stacked 1,3,5-benzenetricarboxamide motifs. Exchange did not require large-scale depolymerization and repolymerization, or reassembly of fragments, but proceeded through individual monomers exchanging homogeneously throughout the fibrils.