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Keywords:

  • conjugation;
  • controlled polymerization;
  • glycopolymers;
  • glycoproteins;
  • saccharide mimics

Abstract

Natural saccharides are involved in numerous biological processes. It has been shown that these carbohydrates play a role in cell adhesion and proliferation, as well as protein stabilization, organization, and recognition. Certain carbohydrates also serve as receptors for viruses and bacteria. They are over expressed in diseases such as cancer. Hence, a lot of effort has been focused on mimicking these sugars. Polymers with pendent saccharide groups, also known as glycopolymers, are studied as oligo- and polysaccharide mimics. Controlled radical polymerization (CRP) techniques such as atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), reversible addition–fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization, and nitroxide-mediated polymerization (NMP), as well as cyanoxyl-mediated free radical polymerization have allowed chemists to synthesize well-defined glycopolymers that, in some cases, have particular end-group functionalities. This review focuses on the synthesis of glycopolymers by these methods and the applications of glycopolymers as natural saccharide mimics.