Evolution of Supramolecular Systems Towards Next-Generation Biosensors

Front Chem. 2021 Aug 19;9:723111. doi: 10.3389/fchem.2021.723111. eCollection 2021.


Supramolecular materials, which rely on dynamic non-covalent interactions, present a promising approach to advance the capabilities of currently available biosensors. The weak interactions between supramolecular monomers allow for adaptivity and responsiveness of supramolecular or self-assembling systems to external stimuli. In many cases, these characteristics improve the performance of recognition units, reporters, or signal transducers of biosensors. The facile methods for preparing supramolecular materials also allow for straightforward ways to combine them with other functional materials and create multicomponent sensors. To date, biosensors with supramolecular components are capable of not only detecting target analytes based on known ligand affinity or specific host-guest interactions, but can also be used for more complex structural detection such as chiral sensing. In this Review, we discuss the advancements in the area of biosensors, with a particular highlight on the designs of supramolecular materials employed in analytical applications over the years. We will first describe how different types of supramolecular components are currently used as recognition or reporter units for biosensors. The working mechanisms of detection and signal transduction by supramolecular systems will be presented, as well as the important hierarchical characteristics from the monomers to assemblies that contribute to selectivity and sensitivity. We will then examine how supramolecular materials are currently integrated in different types of biosensing platforms. Emerging trends and perspectives will be outlined, specifically for exploring new design and platforms that may bring supramolecular sensors a step closer towards practical use for multiplexed or differential sensing, higher throughput operations, real-time monitoring, reporting of biological function, as well as for environmental studies.

PMID:34490210 | PMC:PMC8416679 | DOI:10.3389/fchem.2021.723111


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