martes, 28 de agosto de 2012

Molecule reorganises itself for new functions

ORIGINAL: Physorg.com

(Phys.org) -- The discovery of a synthetic molecule, made up of 60 simple components that are able to reorganise themselves to produce new functions, will lead to better understanding of nature's processes. 

p-Toluidine, 6,6′-diformyl-3,3′-bipyridine and cobalt(II) triflimide react to form a complex dynamic library of interconverting coordination complexes 1 (i). A Co4L6 tetrahedron 2 (shown in diagrammatic form above the crystal structure)
a, Side view of the cationic part of the crystal structure of3·(ClO4)5·Cl, which shows the parallel rings of equatorial ligands (red and blue) and the axial bridging ligands (green); cobalt, orange. b, Side view of a ball-and-stick representation
The perchlorate anion is shown in red, triflate in green and hexafluorophosphate in blue. Co4L6 tetrahedra 2 shown in brackets are kinetic products observed to evolve to the corresponding thermodynamic Co10L15 products, 3, on heating.

The incredibly complex structure of the pentagonal prismatic molecule was discovered when researchers working at The University of Queensland (UQ), The University of Cambridge, and Randolph-Macon College in the USA, formed the structure by transforming a tetrahedral molecule into a second structure - a barrel-like pentagonal prism


Understanding the structure of synthetic molecules which are able to reorganise themselves is important as it helps scientists to understand natural processes in molecules such as viruses which are assembled from small parts. 


The finding was published this month in the journal Nature Chemistry and the researchers have produced a movie showing the molecule and its 60 simple components to assist readers to understand its complexity. 

In synthesising the molecule, the researchers used a technique known as “self-assembly”, which regulates many of the complex and functional components in biological systems like DNA, to prepare a molecular tetrahedron from twenty-two simple building blocks

The building blocks employed were then chemically programmed to spontaneously react together to form the desired molecule. 

UQ's School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences Dr Jack Clegg said in addition of a chemical template, the tetrahedral molecule was reconfigured into a new barrel-like structure composed of an impressive 60 smaller molecules. 

Up until now we've only be able to do this on a very basic level,” Dr Clegg said. 

"We've succeeded in preparing and characterising a new chemical system that is capable of structural reconstitution on receipt of one molecular signal to create a tight binding pocket for a chloride anion."

More information: Nature Chemistry ( DOI:10.1038/NCHEM.1407 , published online 5 August 2012). 

Journal reference: Nature Chemistry

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