Assembly-enhanced molecular recognition of calix[6]arene

We comparatively investigated the molecular recognition of the amphiphilic derivatives of p-sulfonatocalix[n]arenes (SCnA-Rs, n = 4 and 6) both in aqueous solution and at the interface of liposome. When the recognition events transfer from aqueous solution to the self-assembled interface, the binding capability of SC6A-R increases drastically, but not for SC4A-R. It originates from the conformational regulation that the complicated conformation of SC6A-R in aqueous solution was immobilized to the cone shape upon embedding SC6A-R into the liposome. The resulting cone shape is privileged to accommodate guests into its cavity. Such an assembly-enhanced molecular recognition strategy could be transferable to other macrocyclic, acyclic, artificial, and natural receptors with conformational flexibility.