Helical supramolecular polymer nanotubes with wide lumen for glucose transport: towards the development of functional membrane-spanning channels†
The manipulation of strong noncovalent interactions provides a concise and versatile strategy for constructing highly ordered supramolecular structures. By using a shape-persistent building block consisting of phenanthroline derivatives and two quadruply hydrogen-bonding AADD moieties, a type of precise helical supramolecular polymer (HSP) nanotube has been developed. The helical conformation of the supramolecular polymers has been proved via various techniques, showing significantly expanded topologies of supramolecular polymers. From the production of new topological structures of supramolecular polymers, predictable properties and functions have arisen. In this study, the helical folding of supramolecular polymers gave rise to the generation of specific wide lumen structures that can be directly visualized via TEM, and the resulting HSP nanotubes can puncture the lipid bilayer membrane to facilitate the transportation of glucose.