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Chem Commun (Camb). 2005 Sep 21;(35):4383-98. Epub 2005 Aug 5.

Beta-1,3-glucan polysaccharides as novel one-dimensional hosts for DNA/RNA, conjugated polymers and nanoparticles.

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Department of Chemical Processes and Environments, Faculty of Environmental Engineering, The University of Kitakyushu, Hibikino, 1-1 Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, 808-0135, Japan.


Beta-1,3-glucan polysaccharides have triple-stranded helical structures whose sense and pitch are comparable to those of polynucleotides. We recently revealed that the beta-1,3-glucans could interact with certain polynucleotides to form triple-stranded and helical macromolecular complexes consisting of two polysaccharide-strands and one polynucleotide-strand. This unique property of the beta-1,3-glucans has made it possible to utilize these polysaccharides as potential carriers for various functional polynucleotides. In particular, cell-uptake efficiency of the resultant polysaccharide/polynucleotide complexes was remarkably enhanced when functional groups recognized in a biological system were introduced as pendent groups. The beta-1,3-glucans can also interact with various one-dimensional architectures, such as single-walled carbon nanotubes, to produce unique nanocomposites, in which the single-walled carbon nanotubes are entrapped within the helical superstructure of beta-1,3-glucans. Various conductive polymers and gold nanoparticles are also entrapped within the helical superstructure in a similar manner. In addition, diacetylene monomers entrapped within the helical superstructure can be photo-polymerized to afford the corresponding poly(diacetylene)-nanofibers with a uniform diameter. These findings indicate that the beta-1,3-glucans are very attractive and useful materials not only in biotechnology but also in nanotechnology. These unique properties of the beta-1,3-glucans undoubtedly originate from their inherent, very strong helix-forming character which has never been observed for other polysaccharides.

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