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Issue 1, 2017
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Homochiral oligomers with highly flexible backbones form stable H-bonded duplexes

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Abstract

Two homochiral building blocks featuring a protected thiol, an alkene and a H-bond recognition unit (phenol or phosphine oxide) have been prepared. Iterative photochemical thiol–ene coupling reactions were used to synthesize oligomers containing 1-4 phosphine oxide and 1-4 phenol recognition sites. Length-complementary H-bond donor and H-bond acceptor oligomers were found to form stable duplexes in toluene. NMR titrations and thermal denaturation experiments show that the association constant and the enthalpy of duplex formation increase significantly for every additional H-bonding unit added to the chain. There is an order of magnitude increase in stability for each additional H-bonding interaction at room temperature indicating that all of the H-bonding sites are fully bound to their complements in the duplexes. The backbone of the thiol–ene duplexes is a highly flexible alkane chain, but this conformational flexibility does not have a negative impact on binding affinity. The average effective molarity for the intramolecular H-bonding interactions that zip up the duplexes is 18 mM. This value is somewhat higher than the EM of 14 mM found for a related family of duplexes, which have the same recognition units but a more rigid backbone prepared using reductive amination chemistry. The flexible thiol–ene AAAA·DDDD duplex is an order of magnitude more stable than the rigid reductive amination AAAA·DDDD duplex. The backbone of the thiol–ene system retains much of its conformational flexibility in the duplex, and these results show that highly flexible molecules can make very stable complexes, provided there is no significant restriction of degrees of freedom on complexation.

Graphical abstract: Homochiral oligomers with highly flexible backbones form stable H-bonded duplexes

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Publication details

The article was received on 07 Jul 2016, accepted on 02 Aug 2016 and first published on 19 Aug 2016


Article type: Edge Article
DOI: 10.1039/C6SC02995G
Citation: Chem. Sci., 2017,8, 206-213
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Homochiral oligomers with highly flexible backbones form stable H-bonded duplexes

    D. Núñez-Villanueva and C. A. Hunter, Chem. Sci., 2017, 8, 206
    DOI: 10.1039/C6SC02995G

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