Formation and dissociation of synthetic hetero-double-helix complex in aqueous solutions: significant effect of water content on dynamics of structural change†
A 1 : 1 mixture of the ethynylhelicene pseudoenantiomers (M)-tetramer and (P)-pentamer, which possess hydrophilic terminal tri(ethyleneglycol) (TEG) groups, changes their structures in the water–THF (10 μM) solvent system between dissociated random-coils and an associated hetero-double-helix upon heating and cooling. A small change in water content between 30 and 33% significantly affects the dynamics of structural changes. At 30% water content, heating to 60 °C causes rapid formation of random-coil and cooling to 10 °C causes the rapid formation of hetero-double-helix, accompanied by repeated changes in Δε at 369 nm between 0 and −2000 cm−1 M−1. Heating and cooling experiments at constant rates between 60 and 10 °C resulted in sigmoidal curves in Δε/temperature profiles, which indicate rapid structural changes. Different phenomena occurred at 33% water content. Heating to 60 °C and cooling to 0 °C initially induced changes in Δε between 0 and −2000 cm−1 M−1, and repeated cycles gradually reduced the range between 0 and −500 cm−1 M−1. Heating and cooling experiments at constant rates between 60 and 10 °C caused small changes in Δε, and repeated cycles at 10 °C gradually increased Δε to −500 cm−1 M−1. These phenomena involved rapid changes in molecular structure and slow structural changes in the water–THF solvent system. The sharp switching of the dynamics of structural changes at water content between 30 and 33% indicated discontinuous structural changes in the hydration of TEG and/or in water clusters in the vicinity of oligomer molecules.