Biomacromolecules, Vol.21, No.9, 3756-3764, 2020
Effect of Arm Number and Length of Star-Shaped Glycopolymers on Binding to Dendritic and Langerhans Cell Lectins
Many cell types in Nature are covered by glycans with a sugar shell on their surface. Synthetic glycopolymer-based materials can mimic these glycans in terms of their variety of biological processes, such as cell growth regulation, adhesion, inflammation by bacteria and viruses, and immune responses. However, the complexity of glycans is still very challenging to be mimicked completely to obtain specific and selective binding ability. Therefore, in this study we aimed to understand how the complexity in the sense of the effect of number of arms and lengths in star-shaped glycopolymers affect the binding activity with different lectins. The Cu-mediated reversible deactivation radical polymerization (Cu-RDRP) technique was employed for the synthesis of mannose containing star-shaped glycopolymers with varying arm number and length. Two sets of star-shaped glycopolymers with on average 1, 3, 7, 8, and 15 arms were successfully synthesized and characterized via 1H NMR, GPC, and DLS. The first set of glycopolymers (SetS1) encompasses 5 star-shaped glycopolymers with a different amount of arms per macromolecule but with equal arm length, whereas in the second set of 5 glycopolymers (Set S2), the amount of sugars per macromolecule was kept constant to obtain glycopolymers with similar glycovalency but in different configuration. Both glycopolymer sets were subsequently evaluated for their lectin-binding affinity toward a series of both newly and previously studied C-type mannose specific lectins present on dendritic and Langerhans cells. Briefly, while Set S1 glycopolymers with the same arm length and different molecular weight showed considerably different biological activities, SetS2 glycopolymers with different arm lengths and the same molecular weight displayed very similar binding abilities, which can indicate that multivalency can be more important than structure complexity to improve the binding behavior of glycopolymers.