Jean-Marie LEHN (About The Speaker)

ISIS, Université de Strasbourg, France


Supramolecular chemistry is actively exploring systems undergoing self-organization, i.e. systems capable of spontaneously generating well-defined functional supramolecular architectures by selfassembly from their components, on the basis of the molecular information stored in the covalent framework of the components and read out at the supramolecular level through specific interactional algorithms, thus behaving as programmed chemical systems.

Supramolecular chemistry is intrinsically a dynamic chemistry in view of the lability of the interactions connecting the molecular components of a supramolecular entity and the resulting ability of supramolecular species to exchange their constituents. The same holds for molecular chemistry when the molecular entity contains covalent bonds that may form and break reversibility, so as to allow a continuous change in constitution by reorganization and exchange of building blocks. These features define a Constitutional Dynamic Chemistry (CDC) on both the molecular and supramolecular levels.

CDC introduces a paradigm shift with respect to constitutionally static chemistry. The latter relies on design for the generation of a target entity, whereas CDC takes advantage of dynamic constitutional diversity to allow variation and selection so as to achieve adaptation.

In the process of reaching higher levels of complexity, CDC gives access to the generation of networks of dynamically interconverting constituents connected either structurally (molecular and supramolecular arrays) or reactionnally (set of connected reactions) or both. They define a class of constitutional dynamic networks (CDNs), presenting agonistic and antagonistic relationships between their constituents, that may couple to thermodynamic or kinetic processes and respond to perturbations by physical stimuli or to chemical effectors.

Applications of these approaches to biological systems and to drug discovery will be described.


[1] Lehn, J.-M., Supramolecular Chemistry: Concepts and Perspectives, VCH Weinheim, 1995.

[2] Lehn, J.-M., Dynamic combinatorial chemistry and virtual combinatorial libraries. Chem. Eur. J., 1999, 5, 2455.

[3] Lehn, J.-M., Programmed chemical systems : Multiple subprograms and multiple processing/expression of molecular information. Chem. Eur. J., 2000, 6, 2097.

[4] Lehn, J.-M., Toward complex matter: Supramolecular chemistry and self-organization. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2002, 99, 4763.

[5] Lehn, J.-M., Toward self-organization and complex matter. Science, 2002, 295, 2400.

[6] Lehn, J.-M., From supramolecular chemistry towards constitutional dynamic chemistry and adaptive chemistry. Chem. Soc. Rev., 2007, 36, 151.

[7] Lehn, J.-M., Chapter 1, In: Constitutional Dynamic Chemistry, Ed. M. Barboiu, Topics Curr. Chem., 2012, 322, 1-32.