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The Skaggs Institute For Chemical Biology
Scientific Report 2001-2002

President's Introduction

Director's Overview

Investigator's Reports

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On the front cover: A biomimetic receptor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Natural receptors for acetylcholine first attract their target with external charged carboxylate residues, but neutral aromatic residues govern the binding and orientation of the target. This vase-shaped synthetic receptor uses the same structural features to achieve selective binding of acetylcholine in water. The mouth of the cavity is lined with carboxylates, but the surfaces that contact the target consist exclusively of aromatic residues. This work was carried out in the laboratory of Julius Rebek, Jr., Ph.D., by Fraser Hof, Laurent Trembleau, Ph.D., and Elke Ullrich, Ph.D. Structure created by Fraser Hof using Python Molecular Viewer. Cover artwork done by Steve Lustig, BioDesign Communications.


On the back cover: Constellational isomers in a self-assembled capsule. Encapsulation of 1 molecule of chloroform (CHCl3) and 2 molecules of isopropyl chloride [(CH3)2CHCl] gives rise to a new form of isomerism, termed constellational isomerism. On the left, the single chloroform molecule is at one end of the capsule. On the right, it is in the middle, sandwiched between the 2 molecules of chloromethane. The tight confines of the space do not allow the exchange of positions within the caps. Each isomer can be observed as a distinct chemical species; these constellation isomers can be considered information storage at the nanoscale level. The research was carried out by Alexander Shivanyuk, Ph.D., in the laboratory of Julius Rebek, Jr., Ph.D. Chlorine atoms are shown in green.



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