HOT: A molecular octopus to carry your ions…

Ever wanted to carry some polyions across a cell membrane? Some DNA perhaps? Well it turns out you could do with the help of a molecular octopus!

Stefan Matile et al. from the University of Geneva have undertaken a comprehensive study into the structural factors affecting the ability of “octopus” amphiphiles to carry polyions across lipid bilayers and found that the number of “tentacles” was a key factor. Their work has highlighted three key results: firstly, their approach to structure development allowed rapid production and screening of counterion libraries; secondly they have shown that activity related to tail length is also dependent on the number of tails; and finally they found that branched tails were better than their linear analogs.

These findings have a broad application across the fields of sensing, catalysis, cellular uptake and anything else that relies on transporting polyions across a membrane.

Read this HOT article now in Org. Biomol. Chem. – it is available free until 14/04/2011.

Comprehensive screening of octopus amphiphiles as DNA activators in lipid bilayers: implications on transport, sensing and cellular uptake
Javier Montenegro, Andrea Fin and Stefan Matile
Org. Biomol. Chem., 2011, Advance Article

DOI: 10.1039/C0OB00948B

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