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Bioinspired Artificial Single Ion Pump

Zhang, Huacheng, Hou, Xu, Zeng, Lu, Yang, Fu, Li, Lin, Yan, Dadong, Tian, Ye, Jiang, Lei
Journal of the American Chemical Society 2013 v.135 no.43 pp. 16102-16110
biosensors, desalination, energy conversion, ion channels, pH, seawater, transporters
Bioinspired artificial functional nanochannels for intelligent molecular and ionic transport control at the nanoscale have wide potential applications in nanofluidics, energy conversion, and biosensors. Although various smart passive ion transport properties of ion channels have been artificially realized, it is still hugely challenging to achieve high level intelligent ion transport features in biological ion pumps. Here we show a unique bioinspired single ion pump based on a cooperative pH response double-gate nanochannel, whose gates could be opened and closed alternately/simultaneously under symmetric/asymmetric pH environments. With the stimulation of the double-gate nanochannel by continuous switching of the symmetric/asymmetric pH stimuli, the bioinspired system systematically realized three key ionic transport features of biological ion pumps, including an alternating gates ion pumping process under symmetric pH stimuli, transformation of the ion pump into an ion channel under asymmetric pH stimuli, and a fail-safe ion pumping feature under both symmetric and asymmetric pH stimuli. The ion pumping processes could well be reproduced under a concentration gradient. With the advantages of the extraordinary ionic transport functions of biological ion pumps, the bioinspired ion pump should find widespread applicability in active transportation-controlling smart nanofluidic devices, efficient energy conversions, and seawater desalinization, and open the way to design and develop novel bioinspired intelligent artificial nanochannel materials.