Rebek, Julius, Jr. Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Concave structures
- Experimental methods
- Future applications
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The ability of biological and chemical systems to distinguish between molecules and regulate behavior accordingly. How molecules fit together is fundamental in disciplines such as biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, materials science, and separation science. A good deal of effort has been expended in trying to evaluate the underlying intermolecular forces. The weak forces that act over short distances (hydrogen bonds, van der Waals interactions, and aryl stacking) provide most of the selectivity observed in biological chemistry and permit molecular recognition. The recognition event initiates behavior such as replication in nucleic acids, immune response in antibodies, signal transduction in receptors, and regulation in enzymes. Most studies of recognition in organic chemistry have been inspired by these biological phenomena. It has been the task of bioorganic chemistry to develop systems capable of such complex behavior with molecules that are comprehensible and manageable in size, that is, with model systems. See also: Chemoreception; Enzyme; Hydrogen bond; Intermolecular forces; Nucleic acid; Synaptic transmission
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