Structural and thermodynamic data are presented on the binding properties of anion receptors containing two covalently linked cyclopeptide subunits that bind sulfate and iodide anions with micromolar affinity in aqueous solution. A synchrotron X-ray crystal structure of the sulfate complex of one receptor revealed that the anion is bound between the peptide rings of the biscyclopeptide. Intimate intramolecular contacts between the nonpolar surfaces of the proline rings of the individual receptor moieties in the complex suggest that hydrophobic interactions within the receptor that do not directly involve the guest contribute to complex stability. This finding is supported by a microcalorimetric analysis of the solvent dependence of complex stability, which showed that increasing the water content of the solvent has only a weak influence on the Gibbs energy of binding. Hence, the increasing amount of energy required for desolvating the binding partners in solutions containing more water is almost compensated by the increasingly favorable hydrophobic interactions. Further observations that suggest that guest-induced intra-receptor interactions contribute to guest binding are (i) anion binding of a monomeric cyclopeptide lacking the covalent linkage between the two rings leads to the formation of 2:1 complexes; (ii) in the crystal structure of the 2: 1 iodide complex of this monotopic receptor, a similar arrangement of the two cyclopeptide rings has been found as in the sulfate complex of the biscyclopeptide; (iii) complex formation of the monomeric cyclopeptide in aqueous solution is highly cooperative with a large stability constant corresponding to the formation of the 2: 1 complexes from relatively instable 1: 1 complexes; (iv) the monomeric cyclopeptide forms only 1: 1 anion complexes in DMSO where hydrophobic interactions do not take place; and ( v) introducing polar hydroxy groups on the proline rings of the monomeric cyclopeptide disrupts cooperativity causing the formation of only 1: 1 complexes even in aqueous solution. Taken together these observations demonstrate that, in addition to direct receptor-substrate interactions, noncovalent interactions between the two subunits of such biscyclopeptides contribute significantly to anion complex stability. Reinforcement of molecular recognition through intra-receptor interactions should be an attractive new strategy to boost host-guest affinities.
Rodriguez-Docampo, Z., Pascu, S. I., Kubik, S., & Otto, S. (2006). Noncovalent interactions within a synthetic receptor can reinforce guest binding. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 128(34), 11206-11210. https://doi.org/10.1021/ja062389h