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Organic Nanotube with Subnanometer, pH-Responsive Lumen.


While many synthetic nanotubes with a hydrophobic lumen and fast molecular transport have been developed, decorating the interior of these channels with polar and/or responsive functional groups remains challenging. In transmembrane proteins like the aquaporin and M2 channels, the presence of histidine residues in a mostly hydrophobic channel has led to enhanced selectivity and pH-based activation. Herein, we report the synthesis of Bzim-CP, a cyclic octapeptide that contains a benzimidazole functionality as a chemical and structural mimic of histidine. Bzim-CP undergoes different protonation states, forms subnanometer nanotubes, and projects two different ionizable functionalities into the lumen. Present studies open up synthetic possibilities to functionalize subnanometer porous channels as a basis toward understanding new transport phenomena.

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