Cyclic peptide unguisin A is an anion receptor with high affinity for phosphate and pyrophosphate†
Unguisin A (1) is a marine-derived, GABA-containing cyclic heptapeptide. The biological function of this flexible macrocycle is obscure. Here we show that compound 1 lacks any detectable activity in antimicrobial growth inhibition assays, a result that runs contrary to a previous report. However, we find that 1 functions as a promiscuous host molecule in a variety of anion-binding interactions, with high affinity particularly for phosphate and pyrophosphate. We also show that a series of rigidified, backbone-fluorinated analogues of 1 displays altered affinity for chloride ions.