Enzymes are the fascinating promoters of biosynthetic processes and are responsible for their high efficiency and selectivity. During the last years, the development of new bioinspired artificial catalytic systems taking natural enzymes as a blueprint has become an exciting area of research. Many kinds of artificial enzymes have been prepared based on different supramolecular scaffolds ranging from macrocycles to molecular containers trying to mimic the confined environment and the molecular recognition abilities of the enzyme pocket. As a part of our ongoing investigations on the design and use supramolecular enzyme mimics,we report here our recent results based on the use of calixarene derivatives as supramolecular organocatalysts in the synthesis of heterocyclic rings, building blocks in various biologically and pharmacologically active compounds. These macrocycles, thanks to their hydrophobic cavities, are able to recognize and to host selectively the substrates isolating them from the reaction environment. Their ease of functionalization permits to introduce useful functional groups in close proximity of the hydrophobic binding sites.
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