Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Transmembrane signalling

Membrane messengers

Life has evolved elaborate means of communicating essential chemical information across cell membranes. Inspired by biology, two new artificial mechanisms have now been developed that use synthetic messenger molecules to relay chemical signals into or across lipid membranes.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Transmembrane signalling mechanisms.


  1. Swiegers, G. (ed.) Bioinspiration and Biomimicry in Chemistry: Reverse-Engineering Nature (Wiley, 2012).

  2. Matile, S., Vargas Jentzsch, A., Montenegro, J. & Fina, A. Chem. Soc. Rev. 40, 2453–2474 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Gokel, G. W. & Negin, S. Acc. Chem. Res. 46, 2824–2833 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Lister, F. G. A., Le Bailly, B. A. F., Webb, S. J. & Clayden, J. Nat. Chem. 9, 420–425 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Langton, M. J., Keymeulen, F., Ciaccia, M., Williams, N. H. & Hunter, C. A. Nat. Chem. 9, 426–430 (2017).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. De Poli, M. et al. Science 352, 575–580 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Watson, M. A. & Cockroft, S. L. Chem. Soc. Rev. 45, 6118–6129 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Scott L. Cockroft.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cockroft, S. Membrane messengers. Nature Chem 9, 406–407 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing