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Mechanical tuning of molecular machines for nucleotide recognition at the air-water interface

Taizo Mori1, Ken Okamoto1, Hiroshi Endo1, Keita Sakakibara12, Jonathan P Hill12, Satoshi Shinoda23, Miki Matsukura3, Hiroshi Tsukube23, Yasumasa Suzuki4, Yasumasa Kanekiyo4 and Katsuhiko Ariga12*

Author Affiliations

1 World Premier International (WPI) Research Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), 1-1 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0044, Japan

2 JST, CREST, Sanbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 1020075, Japan

3 Osaka City University, 3-3-138 Sugimoto, Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, 558-8585, Japan

4 Kitami Institute of Technology, 165 Koen-cho, Kitami, Hokkaido, 090-8507, Japan

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:304  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-304

Published: 7 April 2011


Molecular machines embedded in a Langmuir monolayer at the air-water interface can be operated by application of lateral pressure. As part of the challenge associated with versatile sensing of biologically important substances, we here demonstrate discrimination of nucleotides by applying a cholesterol-armed-triazacyclononane host molecule. This molecular machine can discriminate ribonucleotides based on a twofold to tenfold difference in binding constants under optimized conditions including accompanying ions in the subphase and lateral surface pressures of its Langmuir monolayer. The concept of mechanical tuning of the host structure for optimization of molecular recognition should become a novel methodology in bio-related nanotechnology as an alternative to traditional strategies based on increasingly complex and inconvenient molecular design strategies.