- Humeniuk, H. V.; Gini, A.; Hao, X.; Coelho, F.; Sakai, N.; Matile, S. “Pnictogen-Bonding Catalysis and Transport Combined: Polyether Transporters Made In Situ” JACS Au 2021, 1, 1588-1593
The combination of catalysis and transport across lipid bilayer membranes promises directional access to a solvent-free and structured nanospace that could accelerate, modulate, and, at best, enable new chemical reactions. To elaborate on these expectations, anion transport and catalysis with pnictogen and tetrel bonds are combined with polyether cascade cyclizations into bioinspired cation transporters. Characterized separately, synergistic anion and cation transporters of very high activity are identified. Combined for catalysis in membranes, cascade cyclizations are found to occur with a formal rate enhancement beyond one million compared to bulk solution and product formation is detected in situ as an increase in transport activity. With this operational system in place, intriguing perspectives open up to exploit all aspects of this unique nanospace for important chemical transformations.