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J Am Chem Soc. 2013 Jun 19;135(24):9055-77. doi: 10.1021/ja403323y. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

Modular synthesis of amphiphilic Janus glycodendrimers and their self-assembly into glycodendrimersomes and other complex architectures with bioactivity to biomedically relevant lectins.

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Roy & Diana Vagelos Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6323, USA.


The modular synthesis of 7 libraries containing 51 self-assembling amphiphilic Janus dendrimers with the monosaccharides D-mannose and D-galactose and the disaccharide D-lactose in their hydrophilic part is reported. These unprecedented sugar-containing dendrimers are named amphiphilic Janus glycodendrimers. Their self-assembly by simple injection of THF or ethanol solution into water or buffer and by hydration was analyzed by a combination of methods including dynamic light scattering, confocal microscopy, cryogenic transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform analysis, and micropipet-aspiration experiments to assess mechanical properties. These libraries revealed a diversity of hard and soft assemblies, including unilamellar spherical, polygonal, and tubular vesicles denoted glycodendrimersomes, aggregates of Janus glycodendrimers and rodlike micelles named glycodendrimer aggregates and glycodendrimermicelles, cubosomes denoted glycodendrimercubosomes, and solid lamellae. These assemblies are stable over time in water and in buffer, exhibit narrow molecular-weight distribution, and display dimensions that are programmable by the concentration of the solution from which they are injected. This study elaborated the molecular principles leading to single-type soft glycodendrimersomes assembled from amphiphilic Janus glycodendrimers. The multivalency of glycodendrimersomes with different sizes and their ligand bioactivity were demonstrated by selective agglutination with a diversity of sugar-binding protein receptors such as the plant lectins concanavalin A and the highly toxic mistletoe Viscum album L. agglutinin, the bacterial lectin PA-IL from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and, of special biomedical relevance, human adhesion/growth-regulatory galectin-3 and galectin-4. These results demonstrated the candidacy of glycodendrimersomes as new mimics of biological membranes with programmable glycan ligand presentations, as supramolecular lectin blockers, vaccines, and targeted delivery devices.

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