A new type of bond not dissimilar to the hydrogen bond but involving a halogen atom has been uncovered by chemists in Switzerland. The so-called "halogen bond" could have implications for the behavior of biomolecules in fatty environments. Stefan Matile points out that the halogen bond operated in hydrophobic conditions whereas the hydrogen bond works only in aqueous systems. Earlier research has hinted at a halogen bond in the context of the iodine atom and thyroid function. The team has now created a non-covalent halogen bond between a carbon and an iodine atom and demonstrated that it can interact with anions and transport them across a model cell membrane in the form of a phospholipid bilayer.
The non-covalent halogen bond