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Chemical control of structure and guest uptake by a conformationally mobile porous material
2019/1/17 14:03:51

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As is known to all, Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are crystalline synthetic porous materials formed by binding organic linkers to metal nodes: they can be either rigid or flexible. Zeolites and rigid MOFs have widespread applications in sorption, separation and catalysis that arise from their ability to control the arrangement and chemistry of guest molecules in their pores via the shape and functionality of their internal surface, defined by their chemistry and structure. Their structures correspond to an energy landscape with a single, albeit highly functional, energy minimum.

Recently, Matthew J. Rosseinsky research team from University of Liverpool published a paper on Nature named Chemical control of structure and guest uptake by a conformationally mobile porous material.

Here's what they did. By contrast, proteins function by navigating between multiple metastable structures using bond rotations of the polypeptide, where each structure lies in one of the minima of a conformational energy landscape and can be selected according to the chemistry of the molecules that interact with the protein. These structural changes are realized through the mechanisms of conformational selection (where a higher-energy minimum characteristic of the protein is stabilized by small-molecule binding) and induced fit (where a small molecule imposes a structure on the protein that is not a minimum in the absence of that molecule).

They show that rotation about covalent bonds in a peptide linker can change a flexible MOF to afford nine distinct crystal structures, revealing a conformational energy landscape that is characterized by multiple structural minima. The uptake of small-molecule guests by the MOF can be chemically triggered by inducing peptide conformational change. This change transforms the material from a minimum on the landscape that is inactive for guest sorption to an active one. Chemical control of the conformation of a flexible organic linker offers a route to modifying the pore geometry and internal surface chemistry and thus the function of open-framework materials.


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