Caging the Hofmeister Effect by a Biomimetic Supramolecular Receptor

by Weibin Lin, Gengwu Zhang, Xuanfu Zhu, Pei Yu, Lukman O. Alimi, Basem Moosa, Jonathan  L. Sessler, Niveen M. Khashab
Year: 2023 DOI: 10.1021/jacs.3c01849


J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 23, 12609–12616


The effect of anions on the solubility and function of proteins was recognized in 1888 and is now termed the Hofmeister effect. Numerous synthetic receptors are known that overcome the associated anion recognition bias. However, we are unaware of a synthetic host being used to overcome Hofmeister effect perturbations to natural proteins. Here, we report a protonated small molecule cage complex that acts as an exo-receptor and displays non-Hofmeister solubility behavior, with only the chloride complex remaining soluble in aqueous media. This cage allows for the activity of lysozyme to be retained under conditions where anion-induced precipitation would otherwise cause it to be lost. To our knowledge, this is the first time a synthetic anion receptor is used to overcome the Hofmeister effect in a biological system.