Characterization of the self-assembly of meso-tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrin (H(2)TPPS(4-)) in aqueous solutions

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The aggregation of meso-tetra(4-sulfonatophenyl)porphyrin (H(2)TPPS(4-)) in phosphate solutions was investigated as a function of pH, concentration, time, ionic strength, and solution preparation (either from dilution of a freshly prepared 2 mM stock or by direct preparation of μM solution concentrations) using a combination of complementary analytical techniques. UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopy indicated the formation of staggered, side-by-side (J-type) assemblies. Their size and self-associative behavior were determined using analytical ultracentrifugation and small-angle X-ray scattering. Our results indicate that in neutral and basic solutions of H(2)TPPS(4-), porphyrin dimers and trimers are formed at micromolar concentrations and in the absence of NaCl to screen any ionic interactions. At these low concentrations and pH 4, the protonated H(4)TPPS(2-) species self-assembles, leading to the formation of particularly stable aggregates bearing 25 ± 3 macrocycles. At higher concentrations, these structures further organize or reorganize into tubular, rod-like shapes of various lengths, which were imaged by cryogenic and freeze-fracture transmission electron microscopy. Micron-scale fibrillar aggregates were obtained even at micromolar concentrations at pH 4 when prepared from dilution of a 2 mM stock solution, upon addition of NaCl, or both.

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