Transmembrane Transport of Phosphate by a Strapped Calix[4]pyrrole

27 June 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Synthetic anion receptors are increasingly explored for the transport of anions across lipid membranes because of their potential therapeutic applications. A considerable amount of research focuses on the transport of chloride whereas the transmembrane transport of inorganic phosphate has not been reported to date, despite the biological relevance of this anion. Here we present a calix[4]pyrrole with a bisurea strap that functions as a receptor and transporter for H2PO4–, relying on the formation of 8 hydrogen bonds and efficient encapsulation of the anion. Using a phosphate-sensitive lanthanide probe and 31P NMR spectroscopy, we demonstrate that this receptor can transport phosphate into vesicles by H2PO4−/Cl− antiport, H2PO4− uniport, and Cs+/H2PO4− sym-port mechanisms. This first example of inorganic phosphate transport by a neutral receptor opens perspectives for the future devel-opment of transporters for various biological phosphates.


Anion transport
transmembrane transport

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Experimental procedures, synthesis and characterization of compounds, UV-Vis and NMR anion binding studies, molecu-lar modeling, and all anion transport experimental details for the assays used in this work.


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