Carbohydrates take part in many biological processes like intercellular recognition and pathogen identification, often involved with multivalent presentation of the saccharide ligands. In nature as well as in artificial systems, single sugar-protein interactions are usually weak and only the simultaneous binding of multiple sugar ligands to different binding pockets of the same receptor molecule result a strong and selective interaction. Therefore, the number, density and distancing of the sugar ligands along the scaffold has a strong influence on the resulting binding properties. Furthermore, there are strong indications that also the chemical properties of the polymer backbone as well as the linker between backbone and sugar ligand have tremendous influence on the resulting binding affinity as well as selectivity. However, most systems so far are optimized empirically and very little is known about the underlying structure-property relations for artificial glycopolymer ligands. Therefore, our approach is based on the combination of solid phase polymer synthesis and the introduction of sugar ligands to precision oligo/polymer scaffolds e.g. via 1,3 dipolar cycloaddition, thiol-ene chemistry or peptide coupling.
We have already shown that our precision glycomacromolecules will help to find improved design rules for novel glycoligands with high affinity and potentially selectivity. Currently we apply these rules for the synthesis and evaluation of precision glycomacromolecules for various biotechnological and biomedical applications such as pathogen detection, targeted drug delivery, antiviral and antibacterial therapy.
Figure: Using solid phase polymer synthesis to create sequence-defined multivalent glycomacromolecules and examples for variations obtainable in homomultivalent glycomacromolecules.