Rigid calix  arene cone conformers, which are efficient receptors for quaternary ammonium salts, are usually obtained through the functionalization of their lower rim with suitable groups. Using flexible cone conformer of calixarene, bearing four 4-hydroxybenzyl groups as cooperative and rigidifying structural elements at the upper rim of the calix, which act as anion binding groups, a new heteroditopic cavitand, 7, was synthesized. Whereas the tetramethoxy derivative 8 does not show any complexing ability, its tetrahydroxy analogue 7 recognizes tetramethylammonium salts with high efficiency. The binding abilities of this new receptor toward a series of tetramethylammonium salts (tosylate, chloride, acetate, trifluoroacetate, and picrate) have been investigated in CDCl3 solution and compared to the monotopic and rigidified, through the lower rim, cone biscrown-3-calix  arene 9. The results obtained confirmed that in CDCl3 ion pairing strongly affects binding. In particular, the rigid monotopic receptor 9 experiences good efficiency toward tetramethylammonium salts having anions with low ion-pairing ability such as trifluoroacetate or picrate. On the contrary, for the new heteroditopic cavitand 7, a reverse order of efficiency was found. In the latter case a different complexation mode was hypothesized in which the tetramethylammonium cation is deeply entrapped into the host cavity and its counteranion participates to the recognition process by coordination via hydrogen bonding by the four OH groups. To further support the role of the anion in the recognition process, a "dual host" approach, employing 7 or 9 in the presence of a specific receptor for chloride anion (10), was utilized. Molecular modeling studies confirmed that in the complexes formed by 7 and TMA salts the counteranion is involved in hydrogen bonding with the host OH groups and that the guests are bound as ligand-separated ion pairs.
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