Sugar-Bile Acid-Based Bolaamphiphiles: From Scrolls to Monodisperse Single-Walled Tubules.
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The introduction of a mannose residue on carbon 3 of lithocholic acid gives rise to an asymmetric and rigid bolaamphiphilic molecule, which self-assembles in water to form elongated tubular aggregates with an outer diameter of about 20 nm. These tubular structures display a temporal evolution, where the average tube diameter decreases with time, which can be followed by time-resolved small-angle X-ray scattering experiments. Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy images collected as a function of time show that at short times after preparation tubular scrolls are formed via the rolling of layers, after which a complex transformation of the scrolls into single-walled tubules takes place. At long time scales, a further evolution occurs where the tubules both elongate and become narrower. The observed self-assembly confirms the tendency of bile acids and their derivatives to form supramolecular aggregates with an ordered packing of the constituent molecules. It also demonstrates that scrolls can be formed as intermediate structures in the self-assembly process of monodisperse single-walled tubules.