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Sweet Polymers: Poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) Glycopolymers by Reductive Amination

Mees, Maarten A., Effenberg, Christiane, Appelhans, Dietmar, Hoogenboom, Richard
Biomacromolecules 2016 v.17 no.12 pp. 4027-4036
binding capacity, bioavailability, composite polymers, energy, glucose, glycolipids, glycoproteins, glycosides, hydrolysis, lectins, light scattering, maltose, metabolism, polyethyleneimine
Carbohydrates are important in signaling, energy storage, and metabolism. Depending on their function, carbohydrates can be part of larger structures, such as glycoproteins, glycolipids, or other functionalities (glycoside). To this end, polymers can act as carriers of carbohydrates in so-called glycopolymers, which mimic the multivalent carbohydrate functionalities. We chose a biocompatible poly(2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) (PEtOx) as the basis for making glycopolymers. Via the partial hydrolysis of PEtOx, a copolymer of PEtOx and polyethylenimine (PEI) was obtained; the subsequent reductive amination with the linear forms of glucose and maltose yielded the glycopolymers. The ratios of PEtOx and carbohydrates were varied systematically, and the solution behaviors of the resulting glycoconjugates are discussed. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) revealed that, depending on the carbohydrate ratio, the glycopolymers were either fully water-soluble or formed agglomerates in a temperature-dependent manner. Finally, these polymers were tested for their biological availability by studying their lectin binding ability with Concanavalin A.