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Perfect Programmable Glyco-Materials

Perfect Programmable Glyco-Materials

The Ward and Gibson Groups have developed 'programmable' Glycan-bearing materials, which are perfect, with no dispersity.

Glycans (sugars) dictate cell-cell communication, are sites for pathogen invasion and are a key part of our immune systems. Current synthetic platforms to display glycans to investigate their biology almost always are imperfect, with heterogeneity in terms of number of glycans and the synthesis is not reproducible batch to batch. For example glycopolymers where a user does not know if the smaller, or larger, fractions are causing the observed binding interactions. The Gibson and Ward groups at Warwick Chemistry have collaborated on a Leverhulme-TrustLink opens in a new window funded project to create ‘programmable’ glyco-clusters .

This method means a researcher, even before entering the lab, knows exactly how many glycans and their 3-D location are present on a material, and gives zero heterogeneity. This is achieved using metal co-ordination cages - 3D structures formed by spontaneous self-assembly. The team used these with model glycan-binding proteins to identify key interactions which would not be possible with traditional materials. The team are now using this to interrogate a range of targets including toxins, for diagnostics.

Read the paper, "Programmable Monodisperse Glyco-Multivalency Using Self-Assembled Coordination Cages as Scaffolds" at opens in a new window