Voltage-Driven Reversible Insertion into and Leaving from a Lipid Bilayer: Tuning Transmembrane Transport of Artificial Channels


  • We are grateful to the National Basic Research Program (grant number 2013CB834501), the Ministry of Education of China (grant number IRT1117), NSFC (grant number 91027008), and FANEDD (grant number 200930) for financial support.


Three new artificial transmembrane channel molecules have been designed and synthesized by attaching positively charged Arg-incorporated tripeptide chains to pillar[5]arene. Fluorescent and patch-clamp experiments revealed that voltage can drive the molecules to insert into and leave from a lipid bilayer and thus switch on and off the transport of K+ ions. One of the molecules was found to display antimicrobial activity toward Bacillus subtilis with half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) of 10 μM which is comparable to that of natural channel-forming peptide alamethicin.