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Water-Soluble Non-Ionic PEGylated Porphyrins: A Versatile Category of Dyes for Basic Science and Applications
Topics in Current Chemistry  (IF9.06),  Pub Date : 2021-08-11, DOI: 10.1007/s41061-021-00348-4
Villari, Valentina, Micali, Norberto, Nicosia, Angelo, Mineo, Placido

This review arises from the need to rationalize the huge amount of information on the structural and spectroscopic properties of a peculiar class of porphyrin derivatives—the non-ionic PEGylated porphyrins—collected during almost two decades of research. The lack of charged groups in the molecular architecture of these porphyrin derivatives is the leitmotif of the work and plays an outstanding role in highlighting those interactions between porphyrins, or between porphyrins and target molecules (e.g., hydrophobic-, hydrogen bond related-, and coordination-interactions, to name just a few) that are often masked by stronger electrostatic contributions. In addition, it is exactly these weaker interactions between porphyrins that make the aggregated forms more prone to couple efficiently with external perturbative fields like weak hydrodynamic vortexes or temperature gradients. In the absence of charge, solubility in water is very often achieved by covalent functionalization of the porphyrin ring with polyethylene glycol chains. Various modifications, including of chain length or the number of chains, the presence of a metal atom in the porphyrin core, or having two or more porphyrin rings in the molecular architecture, result in a wide range of properties. These encompass self-assembly with different aggregate morphology, molecular recognition of biomolecules, and different photophysical responses, which can be translated into numerous promising applications in the sensing and biomedical field, based on turn-on/turn-off fluorescence and on photogeneration of radical species.

Graphic Abstract