The formation of distinct supramolecular assemblies, including a metastable species, is revealed for a lipophilic guanosine (G) derivative in solution and in the solid state. Structurally different G-quartet-based assemblies are formed in chloroform depending on the nature of the cation, anion and the salt concentration, as characterized by circular dichroism and time course diffusion-ordered NMR spectroscopy data. Intriguingly, even the presence of potassium ions that stabilize G-quartets in chloroform was insufficient to exclusively retain such assemblies in the solid state, leading to the formation of mixed quartet and ribbon-like assemblies as revealed by fast magic-angle spinning (MAS) NMR spectroscopy. Distinct N-H⋅⋅⋅N and N-H⋅⋅⋅O intermolecular hydrogen bonding interactions drive quartet and ribbon-like self-assembly resulting in markedly different 2D 1 H solid-state NMR spectra, thus facilitating a direct identification of mixed assemblies. A dissolution NMR experiment confirmed that the quartet and ribbon interconversion is reversible-further demonstrating the changes that occur in the self-assembly process of a lipophilic nucleoside upon a solid-state to solution-state transition and vice versa. A systematic study for complexation with different cations (K+ , Sr2+ ) and anions (picrate, ethanoate and iodide) emphasizes that the existence of a stable solution or solid-state structure may not reflect the stability of the same supramolecular entity in another phase.
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