A new approach to the design of selective release interfaces is assessed in which a hydrophobic component is functionalised with a receptor reactive toward reduced thiol peptides-principally glutathione. The assembly has been characterised using electrochemical techniques and its ability to form a coherent, water insoluble coating is demonstrated. The subsequent reaction with glutathione creates a supramolecular conjugate that exploits the hydrophilic nature of the amino acid chain as a route through which the protective coating can be eroded and hence the underlying substrate exposed. The efficacy of the release process has been critically assessed with a view to establishing the action and selectivity of the trigger mechanism. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.