The selective transport of ions and molecules across lipid bilayers is a key process to ensure integrity of living cells and to provide them with advanced functionalities. For instance, natural ion channels can be coupled to a source of energy in order to function out of thermodynamic equilibrium and generate gradients of concentrations (e.g. ATPase Ca2+ pump in the sarcoplasmic reticulum to achieve muscular contraction). Synthetic artificial nanopores have also recently demonstrated remarkable applicative interests for sensing, separation, and delivery processes. However, to the best of our knowledge, the engineering of nanopores capable of functioning out of thermodynamic equilibrium, and possibly capable of generating concentration gradients of ions or molecules, is not yet accessible with the current technologies. The CORNERSTONE project has for objective to equip artificial molecular channels with light-driven rotary motors as transducers in order to regulate selective transport processes across lipid membrane bilayers. It will focus on the out-of- equilibrium mechanical properties of such synthetic nanochannels, with the aim to understand in details their mechanical behavior upon motor rotation, and to control their transport properties in various conditions – possibly against concentration gradients. The rational design and full understanding of these active structures will be implemented along three classes of transporters, i.e. cations, anions, and water channels. The research program in CORNERSTONE will explore the possibilities offered by these new dynamic nanoobjects along 3 work packages including (i) the advanced syntheses of a series of molecular precursors combining various motors and binding hosts for channels formation, (ii) the experimental measurement and rationalization of the transport efficiency across phospholipid bilayers using various assays, and (iii) the precise determination of the motor actuation in relation with the transport mechanism.
Institut Charles Sadron (UPR 22), Strasbourg : N. Giuseppone (coordinator), E. Moulin
Institut Européen des Membranes (UMR 5635), Montpellier : M. Barboiu, E. Petit
Laboratoire Lorrain de Chimie Moléculaire (UMR 7053), Nancy : A. Pasc, Y. Bernhard, S. Parant