Silver assisted stereo-directed assembly of branched peptide nucleic acids into four-point nanostars†
Branched chiral peptide nucleic acids br(4S/R)-PNA with three arms of PNA-C4 strands were constructed on a central chiral core of 4(R/S)-aminoproline as the branching center. The addition of Ag+ triggered the self-assembly of branched PNAs through the formation of C–Ag+–C metallo base pairing of the three PNA C4 arms leading to non-covalent dendrimers, whose architecture is directed by the C4(R/S)-stereocenter of core 4-aminoproline. The 4S-aminoprolyl core enabled the precise formation of four-pointed nanostars that was not realised with 4R-aminoprolyl or acyclic, achiral aminoethyl glycyl PNA cores. The dendritic assembly of 4 pointed nanostars exhibited net chirality of base stacks in CD spectra, while the base stack assembly from br(4R)-PNA 2 was overall achiral. The results demonstrate that the silver assisted, 4S-aminoproline core stereo selective chiral assembly of branched PNAs manifests into nanostar morphology. The chiral branched PNAs open new vistas in the supramolecular organization of nucleic acids.