Host–guest binding in water, salty water, and biofluids: general lessons for synthetic, bio-targeted molecular recognition
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 and inspirational recent advances, which involve host–guest chemistry in living cells and organisms.