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Wenqi (Vince) Liu and Yu Tan’s Research Featured on the Cover of JACS

A full paper by former Postdoctoral Fellow Wenqi (Vince) Liu (now Assistant Professor at the University of South Florida) and former group member Yu Tan (now Associate Professor at Sun Yat-sen University) entitled “PCage: Fluorescent Molecular Temples for Binding Sugars in Water” has been featured as a supplementary cover in Issue 38 of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

This paper reports two new pyridinium-based molecular containers, PCage, which recognize effectively and selectively sugars in water. The letter “P” in the name of PCage originates from the two pyrene panels in the cage. These two panels endow the containers with enhanced fluorescence upon glucose binding and serve as roofs and floors, forming multiple [C–Hπ] interactions with the axially oriented C–H bonds on the glycopyranosyl rings in the carbohydrate-based substrates. In addition, eight polarized pyridinium C–H bonds, projecting from the roofs and floors of the temple receptors toward the binding cavities, form [C–HO] hydrogen bonds, with the equatorially oriented OH groups on the sugars located inside the hydrophobic cavities. Fundamentally, this investigation shows that pyridinium-based polarized C–H bonds can exhibit performances similar to those of their N–H counterparts. They could be used in the design and synthesis of receptors involving other substrates in aqueous media. Practically, these PCages could be applied to the design of a glucose-sensing device for the diagnosis of diabetes.

The cover art was designed and created by Graphic Designer Alex Bosoy. It illustrates the binding of glucose by PCage, which shows enhanced fluorescence in water.

Well done Vince and Yu. Nice work!

Pictured below – Wenqi (Vince) Liu and Yu Tan alongside the cover image for JACS Issue 38: