Sulfur-Containing Foldamer-Based Artificial Lithium Channels

Jie Shen, R. Deepa, Zhongyan Li, Hyeonji Oh, Harekrushna Behera, Himanshu Joshi, Manish Kumar, Aleksei Aksimentiev, Huaqiang Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Unlike many other biologically relevant ions (Na+, K+, Ca2+, Cl, etc) and protons, whose cellular concentrations are closely regulated by highly selective channel proteins, Li+ ion is unusual in that its concentration is well tolerated over many orders of magnitude and that no lithium-specific channel proteins have so far been identified. While one naturally evolved primary pathway for Li+ ions to traverse across the cell membrane is through sodium channels by competing with Na+ ions, highly sought-after artificial lithium-transporting channels remain a major challenge to develop. Here we show that sulfur-containing organic nanotubes derived from intramolecularly H-bonded helically folded aromatic foldamers of 3.6 Å in hollow cavity diameter could facilitate highly selective and efficient transmembrane transport of Li+ ions, with high transport selectivity factors of 15.3 and 19.9 over Na+ and K+ ions, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere202305623
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 25 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Foldamers
  • H-Bonds
  • Lithium Channels
  • Organic Nanotubes
  • Supramolecular Chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Catalysis


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