The Francis Crick Institute
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The mechanical bond in biological systems

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-12, 13:39 authored by Sophie R Beeren, Charlie T McTernan, Fredrik Schaufelberger
The field of mechanically interlocked molecules (MIMs) has advanced rapidly in recent years, with much work focused on their use in materials, sensing, and catalysis. However, the use of MIMs in biology and biomedicine has been limited, despite the identification of naturally occurringMIMs in DNA and proteins and the potential advantages of the mechanical bond in fields such as nanomedicine and tissue engineering. Difficulties in the synthesis of MIMs, along with their limited solubility and stability in biological media, have until recently impeded their wider application in biology. Contemporary advances have, however, enabled a broader integration of the mechanical bond in biology; the mechanical interlocking endows these systems with unique functional advantages. Herein, we summarize recent advances in the application of small-molecule, biologically derived, and polymeric MIMs in biology, highlighting synergies ripe for future exploration.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2213, Grant title: McTernan CC2213)