Small Molecule Mimics of Transport Proteins

Philip Gale, Chair of our sister Journal ChemSocRev, et al report the first use of thiosquaramides as anion receptors and pH-switchable anion transporters.

Many diseases are caused by faulty anion transport across cell membranes, such as faulty chloride transport leading to cystic fibrosis. Therefore, in recent years interest has grown in developing small molecule mimics of transport proteins that can be used to restore or disrupt the chemical processes within cells and thus cure or kill a range of diseases.

Researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Sydney have produced a series of thiosquaramides which investigate pH dependent chloride transport properties. It was observed that the anion transport ability of the thiosquaramides was completely turned on below a pH of 7.2 but fully switched off at a pH value of 7.2 or higher. The developed thiosquaramides can promote chloride efflux mainly via a chloride/nitrate antiport process.

One of the thiosquaramide derivative with bound chloride anion

This paper provides one of the few examples of truly controllable and switchable anion transport by small synthetic molecules. Thiosquaramides form interesting targets for developing future biologically active anion transporters – ┬áread the paper today to find out how to make them!

To read the details, check out the Chem Sci article in full for free:

Nathalie Busschaert, Robert B. P. Elmes, Dawid D. Czech, Xin Wu, Isabelle L. Kirby, Evan M. Peck, Kevin D. Hendzel, Scott K. Shaw, Bun Chan, Bradley D. Smith, Katrina A. Jolliffe and Philip A. Gale
DOI: 10.1039/C4SC01629G
About the Webwriter
Iain Larmour is a guest web writer for ChemSci. He has researched a wide variety of topics during his years in the lab including nanostructured surfaces for water repellency and developing nanoparticle systems for bioanalysis by surface enhanced optical spectroscopies. He currently works in science management. In his spare time he enjoys reading, photography, art and inventing.

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