Molecular recognition of bisphosphonate-based drugs by di-zinc receptors in aqueous solution and on gold nanoparticles†
Metal-based anion receptors have several important applications in sensing, separation and transport of negatively charged species. Amongst these receptors, di-zinc(II) complexes are of particular interest for the recognition of oxoanions, in particular phosphate derivatives. Herein we report the synthesis of a di-zinc(II) receptor and show that it has high affinity and selectivity for bisphosphonates such as alendronate and etidronate – which are used to treat a number of skeletal disorders as well as showing interesting anticancer properties. The binding mode of the di-zinc(II) receptor with alendronate and etidronate has been unambiguously established by single crystal X-ray crystallography. In addition, by modifying the backbone of the receptor, we show that the drug-loaded receptor can be attached onto gold nanoparticles as potential drug-delivery vehicles.