Metallo-responsive self-assembly of lipophilic guanines in hydrocarbon solvents: a systematic SAXS structural characterization
Lipophilic guanines (LipoGs) in aprotic solvents undergo different self-assembly processes based on different H-bonded motifs. Cylindrical nanotubes made by π–π stacked guanine tetramers (G-quadruplexes) and flat, tape-like aggregates (G-ribbons) have been observed depending on the presence of alkali metal ions. To obtain information on the structural properties and stability of these LipoG aggregates, Small-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) experiments have been performed in dodecane, both in the presence and in the absence of potassium ions. As a result, the occurrence of the two different metallo-responsive architectures (nanoribbons or columnar nanotubes) was confirmed and we reported here for the first time a systematic study on the dependence of the aggregate properties on composition, temperature and molecular unit structure. Even if dodecane was selected to favour LipoG solubility, a strong tendency to self-organize into ordered lyotropic phases was indeed detected.