Host-guest binding in water, salty water, and biofluids: general lessons for synthetic, bio-targeted molecular recognition




Beatty, Meagan A.
Hof, Fraser

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This is a tutorial review aimed at senior undergraduates, early graduate students, and researchers at any level who are new to aqueous host-guest chemistry. Synthetic molecular recognition systems are increasingly being used to solve applied problems in the life sciences, and bio-targeted host-guest chemistry has rapidly arisen as a major field of fundamental research. This tutorial review presents a set of fundamental lessons on how host-guest molecular recognition can be programmed in water. The review uses informative examples of aqueous host-guest chemistry organized around generalizable themes and lessons, building towards lessons focused on molecular recognition in salty solutions and biological fluids. It includes selected examples of macrocyclic host systems that work well, as well as common pitfalls and how to avoid them. The review closes with a survey of the most important recent advances, which involve host-guest chemistry in living cells and organisms.



Host-guest chemistry, Molecular recognition, Water, Salt effects, Self-assembly, Macrocycles, Hydrophobic effect