Indexed on: 20 Aug '16Published on: 19 Aug '16Published in: Chemistry - A European Journal
Anion binding properties of neutral helical foldamers consisting of urea type units in their backbone have been investigated. 1H NMR titration studies in various organic solvents including DMSO suggest that the interaction between aliphatic oligoureas and anions (CH3COO−, H2PO4−, Cl−) is site-specific, as it largely involves the urea NHs located at the terminal end of the helix (positive pole of the helix), which do not participate to the helical intramolecular hydrogen-bonding network. This mode of binding parallels that found in proteins in which anion-binding sites are frequently found at the N-terminus of an α-helix. 1H NMR studies suggest that the helix of oligoureas remains largely folded upon anion binding, even in the presence of a large excess of the anion. This study points to potentially useful applications of oligourea helices for the selective recognition of small guest molecules.