Double-Layered Supramolecular Prisms Self-Assembled by Geometrically Non-equivalent Tetratopic Subunits

Heng Wang, Li Peng Zhou, Yu Zheng, Kun Wang, Bo Song, Xuzhou Yan, Lukasz Wojtas, Xu Qing Wang, Xin Jiang, Ming Wang, Qing Fu Sun, Bingqian Xu, Hai Bo Yang, Andrew C.H. Sue, Yi Tsu Chan, Jonathan L. Sessler, Yang Jiao, Peter J. Stang, Xiaopeng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Supramolecular cages/vesicles in biology display sophisticated structures and functions by utilizing a few types of protein subunit quasi-equivalently at distinct geometrical locations. However, synthetic supramolecular cages still lack comparable complexity to reach the high levels of functionality found in natural systems. Herein we report the self-assembly of giant pentagonal supramolecular prisms (molecular weight >50 kDa) with tetratopic pyridinyl subunits serving different geometrical roles within the structures, and their packing into a novel superstructure with unexpected three-fold rotational symmetry in a single two-dimensional layer of crystalline state. The formation of these complicated structures is controlled by both the predetermined angles of the ligands and the mismatched structural tensions created from the multi-layered geometry of the building blocks. Such a self-assembly strategy is extensively used by viruses to increase the volume and complexity of capsids and would provide a new approach to construct highly sophisticated supramolecular architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1298-1305
Number of pages8
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 18 2021


  • geometrically non-equivalent subunits
  • pentagonal packing
  • self-assembly
  • supramolecular prisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry


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