Orthogonal Multipolar Interactions in Structural Chemistry and Biology



The past few decades of molecular recognition studies have greatly enhanced our knowledge on apolar, ion–dipole, and hydrogen-bonding interactions. However, much less attention has been given to the role that multipolar interactions, in particular those with orthogonal dipolar alignment, play in organizing a crystal lattice or stabilizing complexes involving biological receptors. By using results from database mining, this review attempts to give an overview of types and structural features of these previously rather overlooked interactions. A number of illustrative examples of these interactions found in X-ray crystal structures of small molecules and protein–ligand complexes demonstrate their propensity and thus potential importance for both, chemical and biological molecular recognition processes.