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Hierarchical self-assembly in an RNA-based coordination polymer hydrogel

El-Zubir, Osama; Rojas Martinez, Pablo; Dura, Gema; Doherty, Cameron; Cucinotta, Fabio; Mackenzie, Lewis E.; Pal, Robert; Horrocks, Benjamin R.; Houlton, Andrew

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Osama El-Zubir

Pablo Rojas Martinez

Gema Dura

Cameron Doherty

Fabio Cucinotta

Lewis E. Mackenzie

Benjamin R. Horrocks

Andrew Houlton


An RNA-based coordination polymer is formed by the aqueous reaction of CuI ions with the thionucleoside enantiomer (−)6-thioguanosine, (6tGH). The resulting polymer, [CuI(μ3-S-thioG)]n1, has a one-dimensional structure based on a [Cu4–S4] core and undergoes extensive hierarchical self-assembly transforming from oligomeric chains → rod → cable → bundle through which a fibrous gel forms, that undergoes syneresis to form a self-supporting mass. The assembly involves the formation of helical cables/bundles and, in combination with the intrinsic photoemission of the polymer, results in the material exhibiting circularly polarised luminescence (CPL).


El-Zubir, O., Rojas Martinez, P., Dura, G., Doherty, C., Cucinotta, F., Mackenzie, L. E., …Houlton, A. (2023). Hierarchical self-assembly in an RNA-based coordination polymer hydrogel. Dalton Transactions, 52(17), 5545-5551.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 28, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 29, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jul 6, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 7, 2023
Journal Dalton Transactions
Print ISSN 1477-9226
Electronic ISSN 1477-9234
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 52
Issue 17
Pages 5545-5551


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