Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Protein Sci. 2013 Feb;22(2):139-52. doi: 10.1002/pro.2201. Epub 2012 Dec 29.

Halogen bonding (X-bonding): a biological perspective.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1870, USA.


The concept of the halogen bond (or X-bond) has become recognized as contributing significantly to the specificity in recognition of a large class of halogenated compounds. The interaction is most easily understood as primarily an electrostatically driven molecular interaction, where an electropositive crown, or σ-hole, serves as a Lewis acid to attract a variety of electron-rich Lewis bases, in analogous fashion to a classic hydrogen bonding (H-bond) interaction. We present here a broad overview of X-bonds from the perspective of a biologist who may not be familiar with this recently rediscovered class of interactions and, consequently, may be interested in how they can be applied as a highly directional and specific component of the molecular toolbox. This overview includes a discussion for where X-bonds are found in biomolecular structures, and how their structure-energy relationships are studied experimentally and modeled computationally. In total, our understanding of these basic concepts will allow X-bonds to be incorporated into strategies for the rational design of new halogenated inhibitors against biomolecular targets or toward molecular engineering of new biological-based materials.

Copyright © 2012 The Protein Society.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk