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Chemistry. 2018 Apr 20;24(23):6075-6078. doi: 10.1002/chem.201801023. Epub 2018 Mar 25.

A Capping Step During Automated Glycan Assembly Enables Access to Complex Glycans in High Yield.

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Department of Biomolecular System, Max Planck Institution of Colloids and Interfaces, Am Mühlenberg 1, 14476, Potsdam-Golm, Germany.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freie Universität Berlin, Arnimallee 22, 14195, Berlin, Germany.


The products of multi-step automated solid phase syntheses are purified after release from the resin. Capping of unreacted nucleophiles is commonplace in automated oligonucleotide synthesis to minimize accumulation of deletion sequences. To date, capping was not used routinely during automated glycan assembly (AGA) since previous capping protocols suffered from long reaction times and conditions incompatible with some protective groups. Here, a method using methanesulfonic acid and acetic anhydride for the fast and quantitative capping of hydroxyl groups that failed to be glycosylated is reported. Commonly used protective groups in AGA are stable under these capping conditions. The introduction of a capping step into the coupling cycle drastically improved overall yields by decreasing side-products and simplifying purification, while reducing building block consumption. To illustrate the method, the biologically important tetrasaccharide Lc4, as well as a 50-mer polymannoside were prepared.


automated glycan assembly; capping; carbohydrates; glycans; saccharides

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