New DTPA-derived bis-naphthalenophanes: fluorescence, protonation, and complexation with aromatic amines

Blanca A. Durazo-Bustamante, Reina Vianey Quevedo-Robles, Motomichi Inoue, Jose Zeferino Ramirez, Hisila Santacruz, Rosa Elena Navarro, Lorena Machi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Two fluorescent, water-soluble bis-naphthalenophane isomers with six carboxylate arms, abbreviated as (bis-dtpa14nap)H6 and (bis-dtpa15nap)H6, were synthesized, which consist of two 1,4- or 1,5-substituted naphthalene rings interlinked by two diethylenetriaminepentaacetic (DTPA) chains through amide-linkages. Both DTPA-based macrocycles exhibit intense excimer and monomer emission bands, which sensitively respond to pH in three protonation steps; more sensitive is the 1,4-naphthyl isomer. The full pH-emission profiles have confirmed that the mono-protonated anion (bis-dtpanap)H5 is the major protonation species at the physiological pH. Fluorometric titrations at pH 7.2 have proven that the 1,4-naphthalenophane anion forms 1:1-complexes with cationic phenethylamine (formation constant, 5700 M−1) and histamine (3000 M−1), excluding tryptamine cation, whereas the 1,5-isomer does not react with any of the three amines. The primary binding forces are electrostatic interactions between the CH2CO2 arms of 1,4-naphthalenophane and the CH2CH2NH3 + chain of an aromatic amine. The resulting ion-pair is stabilized by encapsulation of the guest molecule in 1,4-napthalenophane cavity, while the 1,5-isomer cannot encapsulate. NMR studies have demonstrated that 1,4-napthalenophane has a higher freedom in reorientation of naphthalene rings. Such geometrical properties controlled by selection of naphthalene units are the feature of the new naphthalenophanes, and are responsible for the pH‒emission profiles and the complexation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Inclusion Phenomena and Macrocyclic Chemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017

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© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


  • Aromatic amines
  • Fluorescent chemosensors
  • Inclusion complexes
  • Macrocycles
  • Protonation


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