• molecular recognition;
  • nucleotides;
  • sensors;
  • solid-phase synthesis;
  • supramolecular chemistry


The water-soluble tweezer receptor 1 with two symmetric peptidic arms, which are connected by an aromatic scaffold and contain lysine, phenylalanine, and a guanidinium-based anion-binding site as headgroup, has been synthesized. UV/Vis-derived Job plots show that the receptor forms 1:1 complexes with nucleotides and phosphate in buffered water at neutral pH. Binding constants have been determined by fluorescence and UV/Vis spectroscopy. All nucleotides tested were bound very efficiently, even in pure water, with binding constants between 104 and 105M−1. Interestingly, all mononucleotides were bound much stronger than phosphate by a factor of at least 5 to 10. Furthermore 1 favors the binding of adenosine monophosphate (AMP) over adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is unprecedented for artificial nucleotide receptors reported so far. According to NMR spectroscopy and molecular modeling studies, the efficient binding is a result of strong electrostatic contacts supported by π–π interactions with the nucleobase within the cavity-shaped receptor.