Acylated and alkylated benzo(crown-ethers) form ion-dependent ion channels in biological membranes

Willy Carrasquel-Ursulaez, Mahzad Dehghany, Corey L. Jones, Vinaykumar Idikuda, Brian Lu, Jennifer M. Schomaker, Baron Chanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Synthetic ion channels based on benzo(crown-ether) compounds have been previously reported to function as ion-selective channels in planar lipid bilayers, with hydrogen bonding networks implicated in the formation of self-aggregated complexes. Herein, we report the synthesis and characterization of two new families of benzo(crown-ether) compounds, termed monoacylated and monoalkylated benzo(crown-ethers) (MABCE), both of which lack hydrogen bond donors. Depending on the length of alkyl chain substituent and the size of macrocycle, MABCE compounds inhibit bacterial growth and transport ions across biological membranes. Single-channel recordings show that the activity is higher in the presence of K+ as compared with Na+; however, under bionic conditions, open channels do not exhibit any preference between the two ions. These findings reveal that the ionic preference of benzo(crown-ether) compounds is either due to the regulation of assembly of ion-conducting supramolecular complexes or its membrane insertion by cations, as opposed to ion-selective transport through these scaffolds. Furthermore, our data show that the H-bonding network is not needed to form these assemblies in the membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1114
Number of pages10
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2022


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