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Chemists at Tokyo Tech's Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science have designed and developed a capsule-shaped synthetic receptor that can distinguish between male and female steroid hormones. Namely, the receptor displays unusually high binding affinity toward androgenic male hormones in water.
Published today in Science Advances, their achievement is a prime example of biomimetic design—the creation of systems that mimic ideas from nature. "Natural biological receptors can recognize tiny structural differences between male and female steroid hormones using their protein pockets," the authors say. "However, it has been challenging to emulate this function artificially until now."
Key - Breakthrough - Design - Cavity - Pocket
The key to their breakthrough was the unique design of the cavity (mimicking the natural pocket but using unnatural components) within the receptor. This cavity, encircled by polyaromatic frameworks held together with metal ions, enabled the receptor to act as a semi-rigid container—one flexible enough to complement the shape of the hormone and to induce effective bonding interactions.
The study, conducted by Michito Yoshizawa, Masahiro Yamashina and co-workers, is a continuation of the team's previous work on developing innovative nanocapsules for a wide range of biosensing applications in the medical and environmental fields.
Experiments - Receptor - Sex - Hormones - Order
Their experiments showed that the synthetic receptor preferentially binds steroid sex hormones in an order similar to natural androgen...
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