Polymers 2013, 5(2), 431-526; doi:10.3390/polym5020431

Review
Synthesis of Glycopolymer Architectures by Reversible-Deactivation Radical Polymerization
Ali Ghadban 1,* and Luca Albertin 2,*
1
Ingénierie des Matériaux Polymères, INSA Lyon, Villeurbanne F-69621, France
2
Centre de Recherches sur les Macromolécules Végétales (CERMAV-CNRS) , BP53, Grenoble cedex 9 38041, France
Affiliated with Université Joseph Fourier, and member of the Institut de Chimie Moléculaire de Grenoble.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: ghadban.ali@hotmail.com (A.G.); luca.albertin@cermav.cnrs.fr (L.A.); Tel.: +33-4-7603-7660 (L.A.); Fax: +33-4-7654-7203 (L.A.).
Received: 22 March 2013; in revised form: 1 May 2013 / Accepted: 3 May 2013 /
Published: 21 May 2013

Abstract

: This review summarizes the state of the art in the synthesis of well-defined glycopolymers by Reversible-Deactivation Radical Polymerization (RDRP) from its inception in 1998 until August 2012. Glycopolymers architectures have been successfully synthesized with four major RDRP techniques: Nitroxide-mediated radical polymerization (NMP), cyanoxyl-mediated radical polymerization (CMRP), atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization. Over 140 publications were analyzed and their results summarized according to the technique used and the type of monomer(s) and carbohydrates involved. Particular emphasis was placed on the experimental conditions used, the structure obtained (comonomer distribution, topology), the degree of control achieved and the (potential) applications sought. A list of representative examples for each polymerization process can be found in tables placed at the beginning of each section covering a particular RDRP technique.
Keywords:
carbohydrate; glycomonomer; glycopolymer; RDRP; NMP; CMRP; ATRP; RAFT

1. Introduction

Glycopolymers are synthetic polymers possessing a non-carbohydrate main chain but featuring pendant and/or terminal carbohydrate moieties. Since the pioneering work of Horejsi et al. [1], on the precipitation of lectins glycopolymers have raised an ever-increasing interest as artificial materials for a number of biological and biomedical uses. This is due to the expectation that polymers displaying carbohydrate functionalities, similar to those of natural glycoconjugates, might be able to mimic, or even exceed, their performance in specific applications (biomimetic approach). More in general, studies have been published on their use of as macromolecular drugs [2,3,4,5,6,7,8], drug delivery systems [9,10,11,12], cell culture substrates [13,14], stationary phase in separation problems [15,16] and bioassays [17]; responsive [18] and catalytic [19] hydrogels, surface modifiers [20,21,22,23], artificial tissues and artificial organ substrates [13].

The making of a living cell in nature requires four major classes of molecules: nucleic acids, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. Researchers in molecular biology have historically devoted much greater attention to nucleic acids and proteins than to lipids and carbohydrates, mostly due to the powerful paradigm that biological information flows from DNA to RNA to proteins via template-based transcription and translation processes. Nonetheless, it is now understood that lipids and carbohydrates are essential for the relatively small number of genes in a typical genome to generate the enormous biological complexity of a living organism [24]. Carbohydrates in particular are present in all cells and in numerous biological macromolecules, where they usually decorate the outer surface. Thus, they are ideally situated to mediate or modulate a variety of cell-cell, cell-matrix and cell-molecule interactions which are critical to the development and function of a complex multicellular organism. Moreover, they can mediate the interaction between different organisms, such as that between a host and a parasite or symbiont [24]. A well-known example of this kind is the attachment of the human influenza virus to the surface of host cells, which is mediated by 5-N-acetylneuraminic acid residues on the cell surface and by hemagglutinin trimers on the virus surface [25].

Many of the interactions mediated by carbohydrates involve their specific recognition by Glycan Binding Proteins (GBP), which are broadly classified into lectins and glycosaminoglycan-binding proteins. Lectins are proteins capable to bind the outer end of carbohydrates with high stereospecificity but without catalyzing their modification. Although the affinity of a single carbohydrate-recognition domain (CRD) for its natural ligand is often low (with dissociation constants Kd in the micro- to millimolar range), high avidity is achieved via multivalent interactions between multiple CRDs and multiple carbohydrate residues. To this end, multiple CRDs are either present within the lectin structure (e.g., the hemagglutinin trimer) [26] or are the result of multiple lectins clustered together (e.g., selectins). In both cases, the predominantly multivalent nature of lectin-ligand recognition processes is a big incentive to the design of glycosylated structures displaying multiple copies of the recognition elements: Hence the interest for the synthesis of well-defined glycopolymer architectures [27].

Besides their signaling and recognition activity, carbohydrates of higher molar mass (polysaccharides) play fundamental structural roles in living organisms thanks to their unique physical properties (chain rigidity, self-assembling capabilities, solvation and complexation properties) [28,29]. For this reason, a number of studies have been published in which natural oligosaccharides are incorporated into glycopolymers to take advantage of their physical properties. For instance, amphiphilic glycopolymers can inducing phase separation in a selective solvent [30,31,32,33,34] or in a film [35], emulsion or latex [36]. Recently, oligo (1→4)-α-l-guluronan extracted from alginate was incorporated into a biohybrid glycopolymer to bestow it with ionotropic gelation properties in the presence of Ca2+ ions [37].

The presence of an appropriate carbohydrate in a glycolpolymer is per se insufficient to bestow it with the biological and physicochemical properties required by a given application, and control of the macromolecular architecture has proven essential to enable sophisticated functions [4,38,39] and to allow a precise correlation between these functions and the polymer structure. For this reason, over the past twenty years a trend has emerged in which more and more polymer chemists got involved in the synthesis of novel glycopolymers via both traditional and precise polymerization techniques, while a greater number of biochemists and carbohydrate chemists have adopted the techniques of polymer synthesis for designing tailored glycoligands.

2. Glycopolymers and Reversible-Deactivation Radical Polymerization

Beginning in the 1990s and with the advent of Reversible-deactivation Radical Polymerization (RDRP) techniques [40,41,42], a wealth of new possibilities has been disclosed to those pursuing the synthesis of well-defined glycopolymers and complex glycopolymer architectures. RDRPs are extremely versatile techniques combining the characteristics of a “living” process (i.e., homogeneous macromolecules, predetermined molar masses, dormant chain ends) with the simplicity and robustness of radical polymerization [43]. Above all, RDRPs can be effective under conditions that are important for glycopolymers’ synthesis: In homogeneous aqueous media [44], at ambient temperature [45,46,47], and with monomers carrying complex functional groups [48,49,50,51,52].

A detailed description of specific RDRP techniques is beyond the scope of this review, and the interested reader can refer to more specialized texts [43,48,49,50,51,53]. Here we will simply recall the fundamentals of all RDRP processes. According to IUPAC, a reversible-deactivation radical polymerization is a chain polymerization propagated by radicals that are deactivated reversibly, bringing them into active-dormant equilibria of which there might be more than one [54]. Hence, RDRP processes are distinguished from conventional radical polymerization in that they involve some form of reversible deactivation (or activation) reaction [55]. As shown in Scheme 1, the end-capped “dormant” chain P–X is in equilibrium with the polymeric chain carrier P˙, which undergoes propagation in the presence of monomer until it is deactivated back to its dormant form. The rate constants of activation (kact) and deactivation (kdeact) are both defined as pseudo-first order constants, having the unit s−1. In this scheme, every dormant chain is activated every kact−1 seconds (typically 10–103) and deactivated back to the dormant state after a “transient” lifetime (τ) of kdeact−1 seconds (typically 0.1–10 ms). For the quasi-equilibrium

kdeact [P] = kact [P–X]
to hold, the concentration of chain carriers must be around 10−2–10−4 that of the dormant chains. As a result, the total number of chains will be practically identical to the number of dormant chains. In general, after each activation-deactivation cycle the chain length of P-X will have increased, and if the frequency of these cycles is high compared to the polymerization time, every chain will nearly have an equal chance to grow, resulting in a linear increase of molar mass with conversion. Moreover, if the equilibrium is established at low monomer conversion and only a small amount of chain-terminating reactions take place, uniform polymers will be obtained and the dispersity index will decrease with conversion [56].

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Scheme 1. Reversible deactivation mechanism.

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Scheme 1. Reversible deactivation mechanism.
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A number of review articles have already been published on the synthesis and application of glycopolymers at large [22,57,58,59,60,61,62,63,64,65,66,67,68] and the interested reader can refer to them for a broader perspective. Here we report an exhaustive compilation (up to August 2012) of the glycopolymers prepared by reversible-deactivation radical polymerization, with particular emphasis on the experimental conditions used, the structure obtained (comonomer distribution, topology), the degree of control achieved and the (potential) applications sought.

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Scheme 2. Number of publications per year (bottom) and total number of publications (top) on the synthesis of glycopolymers by nitroxide mediated polymerization (NMP), cyanoxyl-mediated radical polymerization (CMRP), atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization in the period from 1998 (first report appeared) to August 2012 (end of our survey).

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Scheme 2. Number of publications per year (bottom) and total number of publications (top) on the synthesis of glycopolymers by nitroxide mediated polymerization (NMP), cyanoxyl-mediated radical polymerization (CMRP), atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization in the period from 1998 (first report appeared) to August 2012 (end of our survey).
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Although the number of successful RDRP techniques has steadily increased throughout the years and now includes Nitroxide Mediated Polymerization (NMP) [52], Cyanoxyl-Mediated Radical Polymerization (CMRP) [69,70,71], Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP) [51], Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) polymerization [48,49,50], Iodine-Transfer Polymerization (ITP) [72], Telluride-Mediated Polymerization (TERP) [73], Stibine-Mediated Polymerization [73] and Reversible Chain Transfer Catalyzed Living Radical Polymerization (RTCP) [74], only NMP, CMRP, ATRP and RAFT have been applied to glycopolymers’ synthesis. As shown in Scheme 2, in the period 1998–2004 the number of publications on the subject did not exceed 5 per year. From 2005 onward that number increased steadily though, and 29 reports were published in the first 8 months of 2012 alone. Also, whereas NMP was well represented up to 2002, it has been later outnumbered by studies using ATRP or RAFT, which now account for ~90% of the articles on the subject.

3. How to Consult the Review

The review in divided in three sections, each detailing the results obtained by Stable Free Radical polymerization ( i.e., NMP and CMRP), ATRP or RAFT. To facilitate consultation, the structure of all (glycol)monomers cited is shown in Scheme 3 and a list of representative examples for each polymerization process can be found in a table at the beginning of each section. Entries to these tables are listed in ascending alphabetical order of (i) the monomer type (e.g., styrenic) and (ii) the carbohydrate residue (e.g., lactose). Concerning the later, the anomeric configuration (α or β), the position of connection to the rest of the polymer, the nature of the heteroatom involved as well as any further functionalization (e.g., sulfation) of the carbohydrate(s) featured by a glycopolymer are specified in parenthesis. When protected carbohydrates were used for polymer synthesis, this information refers to the glycopolymer after deprotection. Unless otherwise stated, each carbohydrate should be assumed to have its most common configuration (e.g., D or L) and ring size (e.g., pyranose). For instance, “glucose (β-N)” indicates a β-d-glucopyranosylamine linked to the polymer via the nitrogen atom and “N-acetylglucosamine (6-sulfo, β-O)” indicates 2-acetylamino-2-deoxy-6-O-sulfo-β-d-glucopyranoside linked to the polymer via the anomeric oxygen.

Also, the formula of ATRP catalysts is reported as “MX(Li)”, where M is the metal, X is a halide and Li is “ligand i” (see Section 4.3). This formula simply indicates the metal halide and ligand used for polymerization and does not imply a specific stoichiometry or structure for the resulting complex [75].

4. Synthesis of Glycopolymers by Stable Free Radical Polymerization (SFRP)

The structures of the initiators/control agents used for the synthesis of glycopolymers by SFRP are reported in Scheme 4.

4.1. SFRP Starting from Protected Glycomonomers/Control Agents

4.1.1. (Meth)acrylate Monomers

Table 1 summarizes the reults obtained for the synthesis of glycopolymers by SFRP [76,77,78,79,80,81,82,83,84,85,86,87,88,89,90,91,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99,100]. Hawker et al. [87] examined the polymerization of isopropylidene protected glucofuranose acrylate M9 in the presence of a lipid functionalized alkoxyamine N7 and 4% mole equivalents of the corresponding nitroxide (DMF, 105 °C). The polymerization rate was slow (p = 60% after 50 h) but a fairly uniform lipo-glycopolymer was obtained (Entry 13, Table 1). A statistical copolymer of M9 with N,N′-di(octadecyl)acrylamide M8 was also prepared under similar conditions and with similar results (p = 55% after 40 h, Đ = 1.2; Entry 14, Table 1). Amphiphilic lipo-glycopolymers were obtained after the removal of the alkoxy amine end chain with tributylin hydride (Bu3SnH) and deprotection of the glucose residue with 9/1 trifluoroacetic acid/water.

Polymers 05 00431 g003a 200Polymers 05 00431 g003b 200Polymers 05 00431 g003c 200Polymers 05 00431 g003d 200
Scheme 3. Glycomonomers and related co-monomers polymerized by Reversible-Deactivation Radical Polymerization (RDRP).

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Scheme 3. Glycomonomers and related co-monomers polymerized by Reversible-Deactivation Radical Polymerization (RDRP).
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Scheme 4. Initiators/control agents used for the synthesis of glycopolymers by Stable Free Radical Polymerization (SFRP).

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Scheme 4. Initiators/control agents used for the synthesis of glycopolymers by Stable Free Radical Polymerization (SFRP).
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Ting et al. [86] reported the synthesis of an amphiphilic glycopolymer bearing α-galactoside residues (Entry 11-12, Table 1). Initially, methacrylate glycomonomer M11 was copolymerized with styrene in the presence of N9 as the initiator to afford fairly uniform poly(M110.9-stat-St0.1) (1,4-dioxane, 85 °C, 2.7 h). The latter polymer contained only 81% of dormant chains though, and the study was continued by inverting the polymerization sequence. Hence, a 9:1 mixture of M11/St was used to chain extend a polySt·N9 macro-alkoxyamine (1,4-dioxane, 120 °C for 0.5 h, then 85 °C for ~2.5 h) to obtain reasonably uniform diblock copolymers with structure polySt-block-poly (M110.9-stat-St0.1). Deprotection of the latter with sodium methoxide in MeOH/DCM yielded amphiphilic glycopolymers that self-assembled into micelles in water and formed honeycomb structured porous films via the “breath figure” technique. Both materials could bind to PNA lectin.

Table 1. Glycopolymers by Stable Free Radical Polymerization (SFRP).

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Table 1. Glycopolymers by Stable Free Radical Polymerization (SFRP).
CarbohydrateMonomer(s)InitiatorAdditiveConv. a %Mn (×10−3)Mn/Mn,th bĐ cStructureApplication sought/testReference
Alkene manomers (unproctected)
1lactose (α-O)M119a/M75N12a1528.81.31A-stat-Bpromoter of binding of dFGF-2 to FGF receptor-1Baskaran et al. [76]
2lactose (persulfated, α-O)M119b/M75N12a30381.5A-stat-Bpromoter of binding of dFGF-2 to FGF receptor-1Baskaran et al. [76]
3N-acetylglucosamine (α-O)M117a/M75N12a30431.47A-stat-BChaikof et al. [77,78]
4N-acetylglucosamine (α-O)M117c/M75N12a2099.31.45A-stat-BChaikof et al. [77,78]
5N-acetylglucosamine (persulfated, α-O)M117b/M75N12a3557.31.37A-stat-BChaikof et al. [77,78]
6N-acetylglucosamine (persulfated, α-O)M117d/M75N12a2657.21.2A-stat-BChaikof et al. [77,78]
(Meth)acrylamide monomers (unprotected)
7lactose (β-O)M107a/M75N12a7191.3A-stat-Banticoagulant, antithrombinSun et al. [79]
8lactose (persulfated, β-O)M107bN12a557.51.19homoanticoagulant, antithrombinChaikof et al. [79,80]
9lactose (persulfated, β-O)M107b/M75N12a6733.41.47homoanticoagulant/antithrombin, promoter of binding of dFGF-2 to FGF receptor-1Chaikof et al. [79,80]
10lactose (β-O)M107a/M75N13a75121.3A-stat-Bsurface modification, lectin interactionChaikof et al. [81,82,83,84,85]
(Meth)acrylate monomers (protected)
11galactose (β-O)M11/StN94540.61.26A-stat-BTing et al. [86]
12galactose (β-O)M11/StpolySt·N948–7921.7–79.91.34–1.50(A-stat-B)-block-Cmicelles and structured films for lectin recognitionTing et al. [86]
13glucose (α/β, 3-O)M9N75891.17homofilm synthesisGotz et al. [87]
14glucose (α/β, 3-O)M9/M8N85513.81.2A-stat-Bfilm synthesisGotz et al. [87]
(Meth)acrylate monomers (unprotected)
15N-acetylglucosamine (α-O)M118aN12a2515.41.26homoGrande et al. [78]
16N-acetylglucosamine (α-O)M118a/M75N12a3330.61.35A-stat-BGrande et al. [78]
17N-acetylglucosamine (persulfated, α-O)M118bN12a359.91.13homoGrande et al. [78]
18N-acetylglucosamine (persulfated, α-O)M118b/M75N12a21.71.2A-stat-Banticoagulant, antithrombin, promoter of binding of dFGF-2 to FGF receptor-1Chaikof et al. [79,80]
Styrenic monomers (protected)
19fructose (pyranose, 1-C)M5N4DCP7916.70.582homoChen et al. [88]
20galactose (α/β, 6-O)M4N4DCP56110.541.36homoChen et al. [88]
21glucitol/mannitolM2N4DCP8216.80.611.37homoChen et al. [88]
22glucitol/mannitolM2polySt·N4381.54block ABfilm synthesis, surface modificationChen et al. [89]
23glucitol/mannitolStpolyM2·N496.51.37block ABfilm synthesis, surface modificationChen et al. [89]
24glucose (β-O)M6N5~5012.71.13block ABNarumi et al. [90]
25glucose (β-O)M6N6CSA214.21.09homoNarumi et al. [91]
26glucose (β-O)StpolyM6·N61012.51.14block ABANarumi et al. [91]
27glucose (β-O)StpolyM6·N61817.91.12block ABANarumi et al. [91]
28glucose (β-O)StpolyM6·N61729.41.17block ABANarumi et al. [91]
29glucose (β-O)M10aN10aDCP73211.16block ABANarumi et al. [92]
30glucose to maltohexaose (β-O)StN10a–f~405–251.07–1.14homoNarumi et al. [33]
31glyceraldehyde (1-C)M3N4DCP8813.10.631.26homoChen et al. [88]
32lactobionic acid (amide)M1aN1DCP357.51.3homoOhno et al. [93]
33lactobionic acid (amide)M1bN1DCP9012.51.1homoOhno et al. [93]
34lactobionic acid (amide)M1bN2DCP9012≤1.20homolectin recognitionOhno et al. [94]
35lactobionic acid (amide)M1bN33617.51.36homolectin recognitionMiura et al. [95]
36maltohexaose (β-O)M7N5≅5016.21.21block ABNarumi et al. [90]
37maltohexaose (β-O)M10bN11DCP8431.81.11block ABANarumi et al. [92]
Styrenic monomers (unprotected)
38glucose (β-S)M88N970241.16homocytotoxicityBabiuch et al. [96]
Glycopolymers from post-polymerization reactions
39galactose (β-S)M12N9785.70.791.06homoBabiuch et al. [97]
40galactose (β-S)M12polySt ·N95214.31.151.16block BAbiocompatible films and nanoparticlesBabiuch et al. [97]
41galactose (β-S)M12N96.31.07homoWild et al. [98]
42glucose (β-S)M12N9783.50.441.03homoBecer et al. [99]
43glucose (β-S)StpolyM12·N96617.81.021.21block ABbiocompatible films and nanoparticlesBecer et al. [99]
44glucose (β-S)M12polySt ·N9767.10.561.16block ABbiocompatible films and nanoparticlesBecer et al. [99]
45α2,3-sialyllactose (β-O)M107aN12a607A-stat-BSPR, lectin bindingNarla et al. [100]
46α2,6-sialyllactose (β-O)M107aN12a607A-stat-BSPR, lectin bindingNarla et al. [100]

a Conv. = conversion; b Degree of control, Mn,th is the number average theoretical molar mass; c Đ = Mw/Mn, dispersity index.

4.1.2. Styrenic Monomers

Fukuda’s group first described in 1998 the nitroxide mediated polymerization of styrenic glycomonomers M1a–b in DMF at 90 °C using N1 (Scheme 4) as control agent and DCP (dicumyl peroxide) as an accelerator [93]. When the unprotected monomer was used, conversion was low and only low molar mass polymers were obtained. By contrast, polymerization of the protected monomer M1b under the same conditions proceeded to higher conversion and afforded uniform polymers with Mn ranging from 2000 Da to 40,000 Da (Entry 32–33, Table 1). The same polymerization was successfully repeated in 1,2-dichloroethane using the dioctadecyl-functionalized alkoxyamine N2 as initiator (Entry 34, Table 1) [94]: a uniform DODA-pM1b polymer was obtained (1.1 ≤ Đ≤ 1.2) with average mass in the range 3000–12,000 Da. Deprotection of the lactobionic acid residues afforded an amphiphilic polymer that formed liposomes in aqueous solution and showed specific recognition by Ricinus communis agglutinin 120 (RCA120), a β-d-galactose binding lectin. More recently, the NMP of M1a–b in DMF was revisited by Miura et al. , using N3 as initiator (Entry 35, Table 1) [95]. The results were similar to the previous studies though, with the unprotected monomer M1a leading to non-uniform glycopolymers (Đ ≅ 1.7) and its protected analogue M1b affording more uniform macromolecules (Đ< 1.36). Also, the authors found that the affinity for RCA120 of the deprotected polymers increased with their DP, as normally observed for a multivalent interaction [101].

Chen and Wulff reported two studies [88,89] in which four isopropylidene-protected glycomonomers (M2-M5) were polymerized for 24 h at 130 °C in the presence of N4 (Entry 19–21, Table 1). At the sole exception of polyM5, the resulting polymers had dispersity index Đ < 1.5. The protected glycopolymers were thermally stable up to 150 °C and were deprotected by the treatment with TFA/H2O (9:1 v/v). Amphiphilic block copolymers were obtained by chain extending polyM2·N4 with styrene followed by deprotection of the carbohydrate residues: Their ability to modify the surface properties of hydrophobic substrates was demonstrated (Entry 23, Table 1) [89].

The synthesis of amphiphilic block copolymers was also the subject of a series of articles by Kakuchi et al. Their first study [90] described the polymerization of 4-vinylbenzyl glucoside M6 and 4-vinylbenzyl maltohexaoside peracetate M7 in xylene at 120 °C with polysterene-macroinitiator N5 (Mn = 8100 Da, Đ = 1.17). The resulting polySt-block-polyM6 and polySt-block-polyM7 were fairly uniform (Đ ≤ 1.2) and had Mn of 12,700 Da and 16,200 Da respectively (Entry 24 and 36, Table 1). De-acetylation with sodium methoxide in dry THF provided amphiphilic blocks copolymers that formed micelle-like aggregates in water and reversed micelle-like aggregates in toluene. In an extension to this work, the same group used the bi-functional initiator N6 to prepare TEMPO-terminated polyM6·N6 (Mn = 8500 Da, Đ = 1.09) that was subsequently chain extended with styrene to afford ABA tri-block copolymers polySt-block-polyM6-block-polySt of various chain lengths (Mw,SLS = 12,500 Da, 17,900 Da and 29,400 Da; Đ = 1.14–1.17) [91]. Conversion was quite low in all cases though (Entry 25–28, Table 1), and this strategy was later reversed [92] by using a bifunctional polySt initiator N11 for the polymerization of styrenic glycomonomers functionalized with peracetylated glucose or maltohexoe M10a-b in chlorobenzene at 120 °C (Entry 29 and 37, Table 1). Higher conversions were achieved in this case (p > 70%), and hydrophilic-hydrophobic-hydrophilic triblock copolymers were obtained after deprotection of the carbohydrate residues.

The same group also used a series of peracetylated α-(1→4)-glucans-functionalized TEMPO derivatives N10a-f for the polymerization of styrene at 120 °C in the presence of dicumyl peroxide (Entry 30, Table 1) [33]. Good control over molar mass was achieved and uniform α-functionalized polymers with Mn in the range 4800 Da to 25,000 Da were obtained. After deprotection with sodium methoxide in THF, reverse polymer micelles consisting of a saccharidic core and a polySt shell were observed in chloroform and toluene and their aggregation number was found to depend on the hydrophilic/hydrophobic balance of the polymer.

4.2. SFRP Starting from Unprotected Glycomonomers/Control Agents

4.2.1. Alkene Monomers

Chaikof et al. have explored the applicability of cyanoxyl-mediated radical polymerization (CMRP) in the synthesis of well-defined glycopolymers directly from unprotected glycomonomers [76,77,78,79,80,82,83,84,85,102,103]. As first noticed by Druliner in the early 1990s and by Gnanou more recently [69,70,71], a certain degree of control can be achieved when (meth)acrylic monomers are polymerized in the presence of cyanoxyl persistent radicals. In the version used by Chaikof et al. , the technique consists in preparing p-chlorobenzene-diazonium salts directly into the polymerization flask through the diazotization reaction of p-chloroaniline with tetrafluoroborohydride. When a monomer solution containing cyanate anions is added, cyanoxyl persistent radicals and aryl-type initiating radicals are generated by an electron-transfer reaction (Scheme 5) and a pseudo Reversible-Deactivation Radical Polymerization is observed upon heating.

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Scheme 5. Reaction steps leading to the formation of a cyanoxyl persistent radical and an aryl-type initiating radical as described by Chaikof et al. [78].

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Scheme 5. Reaction steps leading to the formation of a cyanoxyl persistent radical and an aryl-type initiating radical as described by Chaikof et al. [78].
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Unlike nitroxide mediated radical polymerization, CMRP functions under mild reaction conditions (25–70 °C) perfectly adapted to glycopolymer synthesis in water. Control over molar mass is not as good though, and experimental values are systematically much higher than the theoretical ones. This is presumably due to the large proportion of primary aryl radicals being lost by irreversible termination during the initial stages of the process: Values as low as 0.1 were estimated for the initiator efficiency. Also, the molar dispersity index tends to increase significantly with conversion and with decreasing monomer to initiator ratios, and it is generally higher for more reactive monomers such as acrylates [78].

Notwithstanding the above mentioned limitations, this technique enabled the authors to prepare a series of statistical copolymers of alkenyl-derived glycomonomers M117 and M119 with acrylamide directly in water (or water-THF mixtures) in a pseudo-controlled fashion (Entry 1–6, Table 1) [76,77,78]. In all cases, lower molar mass dispersity was achieved at low conversion/short reaction times and when a smaller amount of glycomonomer was added to the initial feed (Đ = 1.1–1.5). By contrast, the length of the spacer did not seem to play a role [76]. After precipitation in MeOH and drying, the obtained polymers were tested as glycosaminoglycan-mimetic biomaterials for tissue regeneration and wound-healing applications. The effect of sulfated glycopolymers on the binding of fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) to FGF receptor-1 (FGFR-1) was studied and polymers containing pendant sulfated lactose groups were found to significantly enhance FGF-2 binding to its receptor, even at low polymer concentrations.

4.2.2. (Meth)acrylamide Monomers

CMRP was applied to the homopolymerization of acrylate-derived glycomonomers M120a/b and to their statistical co-polymerization with acrylamide directly in water or water-THF mixtures. Compared to alkenyl derives, glycomonomers of the acrylamide type led to somewhat higher molar dispersities (Đ = 1.2–1.6) but had the advantage to homopolymerize, to have faster reaction rates and to achieve higher conversions (up to 80% in 16 h) [79].

The anticoagulant activity of the resulting polymers was studied and was found to be much lower than that of heparin. Nonetheless, lactose heptasulfate-based glycopolymers considerably prolonged the coagulation time and copolymers with acrylamide had a higher anticoagulant activity than the corresponding homopolymers. By contrast, sulfated monosaccharide-based homo- and copolymers obtained from M118b showed no activity in this bioassay. These results suggest that anticoagulant activity is dependent upon the presence of sulfated disaccharides and that it can be optimized by modulating the copolymer composition [79].

Copolymers of M120b and M118b with acrylamide were also tested for their ability to act as molecular chaperone for fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and to promote its dimerization and interaction with receptor FGFR-1. It was found that poly(M120b-stat-M75) with Mn = 9300 Da, Đ = 1.46 and M120b/M75 = 1/10 promotes an FGF-2 specific proliferative cell response. This finding suggests its potential applications in areas related to therapeutic angiogenesis [80].

In an extension to this work, a series of biotin-terminated glycopolymers were prepared by copolymerizing lactose-glycomonomer M120a and acrylamide with biotin-functionalized initiating system N13. The resulting polymers were used to fabricate a series of glycocalyx-mimetic surfaces that showed uniform carbohydrate coating on a membrane-like thin film [84,85] and to functionalize quantum dots and magnetic beads [82].

More recently, Sun et al. [81,100] took advantage of the O-cyanate ω-chain-end of glycopolymers obtained by CMRP to anchor M120a/acrylamide copolymers onto amine-functionalized surfaces via isourea bond formation. This way they prepared functionalized silica gel beads suitable for affinity chromatography and glycoarrays designed for probing glycan binding proteins.

4.2.3. (Meth)acrylate Monomers

CMRP was applied to the homopolymerization of acrylate-derived glycomonomers M118a/b and to their statistical co-polymerization with acrylamide directly in water or water-THF mixtures. In analogy to what seen for acrylamide derivatives and when compared to the alkenyl-analogies, glycomonomers of the acrylate type led to somewhat higher molar dispersities (Đ = 1.2–1.6) but had the advantage to homopolymerize, to have faster reaction rates and to achieve higher conversions (up to 80% in 16 h) [78].

4.2.4. Styrenic Monomers

Schubert et al. [96] described the polymerization of a β-thioglucoside styrenic monomer M88 in THF/H2O 1:1 in the presence of BlocBuilder N9 (110 °C, 2 h; Entry 38, Table 1). A fairly uniform glycopolymer was obtained that was used for coating superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles: neither the polymer nor the glyconanoparticle were cytotoxic towards 3T3 mouse fibroblasts.

4.3. Glycopolymers from Post-Polymerization Reactions

Schubert et al. applied a post-polymerization reaction to synthesize β-thioglycoside-functionalized glycopolymers (Entry 39–44, Table 1). In one example, M12 (pentaflurorostyrene) was either homopolymerized or copolymerized with St using BlocBuilder N9 (Scheme 4) as the initiator in THF (110 °C, 5 h) [99]. Nucleophilic attack at the para position of the pentafluorostyrene ring with 2,3,4,6-tetra-O-acetyl-1-thio-β-d-glucopyranose afforded polyM88 and poly(M88-stat-St). SEC analysis indicated that all polymers had narrow molar mass distribution (Đ = 1.03–1.20) and that the copolymers had a molar mass close to the theoretical value. A similar approach was used for the synthesis of polyM88-block-polySt and polySt-block-polyM88, but in this case more drastic conditions were required to drive the post-polymerization reaction to 90% efficiency (DMF, 50 °C, 6 h). The obtained glycopolymers were then deprotected with sodium methoxide in DMF and purified by precipitation in cold EtOH. The same method was later applied to the synthesis of β-thiogalactoside-functionalized homo and block copolymers [97]. The deprotected block copolymers were used to coat polypropylene microtiter plates and glass slides.

In an extension to this work, Wild et al. [98] investigated the synthesis of a PtII-functionalized glycopolymer. To this end, pentafluorostyrene M12 was polymerized using the SG1 derivative N9 (BlocBuilder®; 110 °C, 5 h; Entry 41, Table 1). The purified polymer was reacted firstly with a thio-terpyridine (DS = 5%) and secondly with peracetylated 1-thio-β-d-galactopyranose (DS ≅ 84%). Deprotection with CH3ONa in DMF afforded a uniform polymer polymer with Mn 23 KDa and Đ = 1.06. Finally, the terpyridine units were complexed with PtII in a DMF/water mixture to yield an anti-leukemic polymer (Scheme 6).

Sun et al. [100] enzymatically modified the lactose residues of a poly(M107a-stat-M75) copolymer grafted onto glass slides or SPR gold sensor chips to transform them into α2,6- and α2,3-sialyllactose. To this end, the terminal galactose units of the disaccharide were sialylated with CMPNeu5Ac in the presence of either α2,6- or α2,3-sialyltransferase. The resulting glycoarrays and SPR sensors were then used for probing glycan binding proteins.

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Scheme 6. Synthesis of a glycopolymeric platinum carrier as described by Schubert et al. [98]. (COD stands for the ligand 1,5-cyclooctadiene.)

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Scheme 6. Synthesis of a glycopolymeric platinum carrier as described by Schubert et al. [98]. (COD stands for the ligand 1,5-cyclooctadiene.)
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5. Synthesis of Glycopolymers by Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP)

The structures of the initiators and ligands used in the synthesis of glycopolymers by ATRP are reported in Scheme 7 and Scheme 8, respectively.

Polymers 05 00431 g007a 200Polymers 05 00431 g007b 200
Scheme 7. Initiators used in the synthesis of glycopolymers by ATRP.

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Scheme 7. Initiators used in the synthesis of glycopolymers by ATRP.
Polymers 05 00431 g007a 1024Polymers 05 00431 g007b 1024
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Scheme 8. Ligands used in the synthesis of glycopolymers by ATRP.

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Scheme 8. Ligands used in the synthesis of glycopolymers by ATRP.
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5.1. ATRP Starting from Protected Glycomonomers/Glycoinitiators

5.1.1. (Meth)acrylate Monomers

Table 2 summarizes the reults obtained for the synthesis of glycopolymers by ATRP [11,30,34,104,105,106,107,108,109,110,111,112,113,114,115,116,117,118,119,120,121,122,123,124,125,126,127,128,129,130,131,132,133,134,135,136,137,138,139,140,141,142,143,144,145]. The first glycopolymer obtained by ATRP was reported by Fukuda et al. [109] isopropylidene-protected glucose derivative M13 was polymerized in 1,2-dimethoxybenzene (veratrole; 80 °C, 3.5 h) using ethyl 2-bromoisobutyrate A1 (Scheme 7) as initiator and CuBr(L1) as catalyst (Entry 59, Table 2). By varying the monomer to initiator ratio, polymers with Mn ranging from 2.7 × 104 Da to 2 × 105 Da and molar-mass dispersity Đ = 1.27-1.82 were obtained, with higher monomer to initiator ratios resulting in more uniform polymers. Under similar conditions, the sequential addition of styrene and M13 afforded the block copolymer polySt-block-polyM13 (Entry 60, Table 2). Deprotection with formic acid gave well-defined water soluble homopolymers and an amphiphilic block copolymer that formed nanostructured films upon solvent casting. The same group provided the first example of grafting-from of a glycopolymer onto a solid substrate [110]. To this end, a monolayer of precursor of the initiator was deposited onto oxidized silicon to give A36, the latter was dipped in a solution of M13, CuBr(L1) and p-toleunesulfonyl chloride (A37; sacrificial initiator) in 1,2-dimethoxybenzene, and the reaction was carried out at 80 °C for 12 h. The dispersity of the free polymer in solution did not exceed 1.2 and ellipsometric and atomic force microscopy analyses showed the formation of a homogenous graft layer onto the substrate. Moreover, the thickness of the graft layer in the dry state increased monotonically with time and linearly with the Mn of free polymer in solution. This suggests a controlled growth of the graft chains and a constant graft density, which was estimated at 0.1 chain nm−2. Quantitative deprotection of the grafted polyM13 was effected in formic acid to produce a solid surface densely grafted with a well-defined glucose-carrying polymer.

Table 2. Glycopolymers by Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP).

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Table 2. Glycopolymers by Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP).
EntryCarbohydrateMonomer(s)InitiatorAdditiveConv. %Mn (×10−3)Mn/Mn,thĐ bStructureApplication sought/testedReference
(Meth)acrylamide monomers (unprotected)
47mannose (α-O)M64A28/A20bCuCl(L11), CuCl2511.5brushlectin recognitionYu et al. [104]
(Meth)acrylate monomers (protected)
48M19I1Sn(Oct)26.61.121.14homoChen et al. [105]
49M19I2Sn(Oct)213.71.151.12homoChen et al. [105]
50M33A23CuBr(L3)45200.991.14block ABKe et al. [106]
51galactose (α/β, 6-O)M20A12CuBr(L6)957.51.08homoLadmiral et al. [107]
52galactose (α/β, 6-O)M20A12CuBr(L6)9913.41.1homoLadmiral et al. [107]
53galactose (α/β, 6-O)M20/M27A12CuBr(L6)876.11.08A-stat-BLadmiral et al. [107]
54galactose (α/β, 6-O)M20A72CuBr(L5)6520.11.19block ABAChen et al. [105]
55galactose (α/β, 6-O)M20A74CuBr(L5)51351.17star (4 arm)Chen et al. [105]
56galactose (β-O)M98A8CuCl(L2)505.51.191.17homoWang et al. [11]
57galactose (β-O)M57A8·polyM98·BrCuCl(L3)6021.61.081.36block ABAinsulin releaseWang et al. [11]
58galactose (α/β, 6-O)M16, M17A5CuBr(L4)10.51.21block ABBes et al. [108]
59glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A1CuBr(L1)83750.451.82homoOhno et al. [109]
60glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A1·polySt·BrCuBr(L1)14.41.34block ABnanostructured filmOhno et al. [109]
61glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A36CuBr(L1), A37brush (homo)Ejaz et al. [110]
62glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A12CuBr(L6)907.11.14homoLadmiral et al. [107]
63glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A12CuBr(L6)9014.71.31homoLadmiral et al. [107]
64glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13/M27A12CuBr(L6)936.11.18A-stat-BLadmiral et al. [107]
65glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A14CuBr(L8)84161.17starMuthukrishnan et al. [111]
66glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A14CuBr(L8)66011.26starMuthukrishnan et al. [111]
67glucose (α/β, 3-O)M9A1CuBr(L3)886.61.21.13homoMuthukrishnan et al. [112]
68glucose (α/β, 3-O)M9A1CuBr(L3)9318.51.31.25homoMuthukrishnan et al. [112]
69glucose (α/β, 3-O)M9A1CuBr(L3)84311.37homoMuthukrishnan et al. [112]
70 cglucose (α/β, 3-O)M9A15CuBr(L3)986.61.92hyper branchedMuthukrishnan et al. [112]
71 dglucose (α/β, 3-O)M9A15CuBr(L3)96131.95hyper branchedMuthukrishnan et al. [112]
72 cglucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A16(PPh3)2NiBr2> 9817.62.12hyper branchedMuthukrishnan et al. [113]
73 dglucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A16(PPh3)2NiBr2> 9823.31.57hyper branchedMuthukrishnan et al. [113]
74glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13polyA16CuBr(L8)1058.61.07brush (cylindrical)Muthukrishnan et al. [114]
75glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A19CuBr(L8)8537.41.161.45homobio-nanotechnologyGao et al. [115]
76glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A16/A19(PPh3)2NiBr2904.371.81hyperbranchedbio-nanotechnologyGao et al. [115]
77glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A21CuCl(L10)5112.51.18block ABAbiomedicalWang et al. [116]
78glucose (α/β, 4-O)M32A23CuBr(L3)6227.60.821.32homoKe et al. [106]
79glucose (α/β, 4-O)St/M32A22CuBr(L3)8323.70.651.22A-stat-Blectin recognition; film preparationKe et al. [106]
80glucose (α/β, 4-O)M32A24CuBr(L3)5325.20.691.43graft ABlectin recognition; film preparationKe et al. [106]
81glucose (α/β, 3-O)M16, M17A6CuBr(L4)111.18block ABBes et al. [108]
82glucose (β-O)M14A2CuBr(L2)5524.811.34homoLiang et al. [117]
83glucose (β-O)M14A3CuBr(L3)1.12block ABlectin interactionYou et al. [118]
84lactose (β-O)M21A8CuBr(L2)5820.61.221.29homoDong et al. [119]
85lactose (β-O)M21A8CuBr(L2)969.31.261.24homoDong et al. [119]
86lactose (β-O)M22H2N·polyM21·NH27314.31.141.38block ABADong et al. [119]
87lactose (β-O)M62H2N·polyM21·NH215.91.031.33block ABADong et al. [120]
88maltoheptaose (α/β-O)M16A4CuBr(L4)8011.50.841.15block ABHaddleton et al. [30]
89maltoheptaose (α/β-O)M18A4CuBr(L4)82block ABHaddleton et al. [30]
90maltoheptaose (α/β-O)/glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13A4CuBr(L4)8816.50.651.21block ABHaddleton et al. [30]
91maltoheptaose (α/β-O)M15A4CuBr(L4)8710.10.921.09block ABHaddleton et al. [30]
92N-acetylglucosamine (β-O)M30A16CuCl(L8)95111.29hyperbranchedlectin recognitionPfaff et al. [121]
93N-acetylglucosamine (β-O)M30polySt·Br (latex)/A1CuCl(L8)9596.70.451.12brushPfaff et al. [122]
(Meth)acrylate monomers (unprotected)
94 egluconic acid (amide)M23A923CuBr(L2)> 9711.41.23block ABNarain et al. [123,124]
95 fgluconic acid (amide)M23A923CuBr(L2)> 9712.61.48block ABNarain et al. [123,124]
96 ggluconic acid (amide)M23A923CuBr(L2)> 9713.41.82block ABNarain et al. [123,124]
97gluconic acid (amide)M23A25CuBr(L2)64.5 i84.61.26star (4-arms)lectin recognition and drug deliveryQiu et al. [125]
98 hgluconic acid (amide)/ lactobionic acid (amide)M23A10-polyM25·BrCuBr(L2)68 i21.21.28block ABANarain et al. [126]
99gluconic acid (amide)M23Au-modified surfaceCuBr(L2)19.71.6brushlectin recognition, SPRMateescu et al. [127]
100glucose (α/β-O)M34aA34CuBr(L2)8.61.44homoamyloid β-peptide adsorptionKitano et al. [128]
101glucose (α-methyl, 6-O)M36polyA16CuBr(L4)495321.48brush (cylindrical)Fleet et al. [129]
102glucose (α-methyl, 6-O)M36poly(A16-stat-M15)CuBr(L4)301961.49brush (cylindrical)Fleet et al. [129]
103glucose (α-methyl, 6-O)M36poly(A16-block-M15)CuBr(L4)413201.52brush (cylindrical)Fleet et al. [129]
104glucose (α-methyl, 6-O)M36poly(M58-alt-MAnh)CuBr(L4)455651.21brush (cylindrical)Fleet et al. [129]
105 hlactobionic acid (amide)M25A1023CuBr(L2)-22.51.24block ABNarain et al. [123]
106 flactobionic acid (amide)M25A1023CuBr(L2)> 9523.41.1block ABNarain et al. [123]
107 glactobionic acid (amide)M25A1023CuBr(L2)> 9534.81.6block ABNarain et al. [123]
108 flactobionic acid (amide)M24A10-polyM25·BrCuBr(L2)-17.91.34block ABCNarain et al. [126]
109 hlactobionic acid (amide)M26A10-polyM25·BrCuBr(L2)72 i18.11.29block ABCNarain et al. [126]
110lactobionic acid (amide)M25A17CuBr(L2)80 i241.021.32block ABstreptavidin bindingNarain et al. [130]
111lactobionic acid (amide)M25A38, A1 or A38CuBr(L2), CuBr2681.8brushlectin recognition, SPRMateescu et al. [127]
112lactobionic acid (amide)M25A39CuBr(L2), CuBr2brush (linear)lectin bindingYang et al. [131]
113lactobionic acid (amide)M25A39CuBr(L2), CuBr2brush (comb)lectin bindingYang et al. [131]
114mannose (α-O)M67A35CuBr(L7)8028.81.25homoO’Connell et al. [132]
115mannose (α-O)M89, 2-propynyl-α-ManA31CuBr(L3)49.91.33homocell imagingXu et al. [133]
116mannose (α/β-O)M34bA34CuBr(L2)7.81.2homolectin bindingKitano et al. [134]
117mannose (α-O)M67A29CuBr(L7)26.11.2homolectin recognitionGeng et al. [135]
118N-acetylglucosamine (β-O)M30A18CuBr(L9)9440.71.881.17homobiotin-protein bindingVazquez-Dorbatt et al. [136]
119N-acetylglucosamine (β-O)M31A18CuBr(L9)8643.13.011.07homobiotin-protein bindingVazquez-Dorbatt et al. [136]
120N-acetylglucosamine (β-O)M31A26CuBr(L2), CuBr28010.21.12homosiRNA conjugationVazquez-Dorbatt et al. [137]
121N-acetylglucosamine (α/β, N)M63A1CuBr(L3)90701.2homolectin recognitionLeon et al. [138]
122N-acetylglucosamine (α/β, N)M63A27CuBr(L3)75271.15homolectin recognitionLeon et al. [138]
123N-acetylglucosamine (α/β, N)M47A1·polyM63·BrCuCl(L3)90150.871.31block ABlectin recognitionLeon et al. [138]
124N-acetylglucosamine (α/β, N)M47A27·polyM63·BtCuCl(L3)9317.60.981.38block ABAlectin recognitionLeon et al. [138]
125N-acetylglucosamine (α/β, N)M63A20a·polyM47·BrCuCl(L3)7333.91.481.37block ABlectin recognitionLeon et al. [139]
126N-acetylglucosamine (α/β, N)M63A30·polyM47·BrCuCl(L3)9338.51.231.32block ABAlectin recognitionLeon et al. [139]
127N-acetylglucosamine (α/β, N)M46A1·polyM63·BrCuCl(L3)4532.71.21.3block ABpolymeric surfactant, lectin recognitionMunoz-Bonilla et al. [140]
128N-acetylglucosamine (α/β, N)M63A1·polyM15·BrCuCl(L3)1516.50.931.12block ABlectin recognition; film preparationde León et al. [141]
Styrenic monomers (protected)
129dextran (1-deoxy-1-amide)StA32CuBr(L3)82.21.7block ABcarrierHouga et al. [34]
130glucose (α/β, 3-O)M109A1CuCl(L3)68 i12.31.19homo[142]
131glucose (α/β, 3-O)M110polyM109CuCl(L3)55 i21.21.46block ABbiomedicalMenon et al. [142]
132maltoheptaose (α/β-O)StA4CuBr(L4)9110.71.21.48block ABHaddleton et al. [30]
Glycopolymers from post-polymerization reaction
133M28/M15A13CuBr(L7)>808.91.561.09A-stat-BLadmiral et al. [143]
134M28/M29A13CuBr(L7)>8011.91.521.12A-stat-BLadmiral et al. [143]
135galactose (β-N)M112A1CuBr(L3)7011.40.641.16homo, A-stat-Blectin recognition jRichards et al. [144]
136galactose (α-O), mannose (α-O)M28A13CuBr(L7)>8017.62.311.17homolectin recognition jLadmiral et al. [143]
137mannose (α-O)M28/M93A29CuBr(L7)16.41.28homolectin recognition jGeng et al. [135]
138mannose (α-O)M28A34CuBr(L7)7.51.32homoGou et al. [145]

a Degree of control, Mn,th is the number average theoretical molar mass; b Đ = Mw/Mn, dispersity index; c [Mi]0/[Ai]0 = 1.5; d [Mi]0/[Ai]0 = 10; e in methanol, f in methanol/water 3:2 v/v; g in water; h in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone; i isolated yield; j after post-polymerization modification.

β-Glucoside derivative M14 was polymerized by Li et al. [117] in the presence of (1-bromoethyl)benzene A2 as initiator and CuBr(L2) as catalyst (chlorobenzene, 80 °C). Pseudo-first order kinetics were observed and molar mass increased linearly with conversion. Molar mass distribution remained narrow up to 70% conversion and, by varying the monomer to initiator ratio, polymers with Mn in the range 5–25 KDa and Đ = 1.26–1.34 were obtained (Entry 82, Table 2). The resulting polymers were quantitatively deprotected by modified Zemplén deacetylation (MeONa in CHCl3/MeOH, RT). The same polymerization conditions were used to chain extend PEO macro-intiator A3 with M14 in the presence of CuBr(L3) (Entry 83, Table 2) [118]. The resulting PEO45-block-polyM1427 glycopolymer was deprotected and its interaction with ConA was compared to that of polyM1410: While both polymers formed aggregates with the lectin, only those from PEO-block-poly(deprotected M14) were stable in water, presumably due to the hydrophilic PEO segments.

Haddleton et al. studied the synthesis of a series of carbohydrate-functionalized ATRP initiators and their use for the polymerization of a number of monomers (Entry 58, 81, 88–91, 132, Table 2) [30]. Hence peracylated maltoheptaoside A4 was obtained from the ring opening of β-cyclodextrin and was used as glycoinitiator for the polymerization of M13, M15-M18 and St using CuBr(L4) as the catalyst (xylene or toluene, 90 °C, 110 °C for styrene; Entry 88–91 and 132 in Table 2). The polymerization of methacrylate monomers proceeded with good control over the molecular mass and led to uniform polymers (Đ ≤ 1.21) while the polymerization of styrene resulted in the broadening of the molar mass distribution (Đ = 1.48), a phenomenon already observed with other types of α-bromoester initiators [34]. The resulting polymers were quantitatively deprotected by modified Zemplén deacetylation (MeONa in CHCl3/MeOH at room temperature). Amphiphilic block copolymers polyM16-block-polyM17 containing a carbohydrate residue at their α-end were synthesized in a similar way using galactose- and glucose-derived initiators A5 and A6, respectively [108]. In all experiments, the first block (M16) was polymerized at 60 °C since reaction at higher temperatures reduced the proportion bromine groups at the ω-end, whereas chain extension with M17 (benzyl methacrylate) was carried out at 90 °C (toluene, CuBr(L4) as the catalyst; (Entry 58, 81 in Table 2). Both polymerizations proceeded with pseudo-first order kinetics and led to uniform copolymers with predetermined molar mass. Only low degrees of polymerization were targeted for each block, though (DPn = 5–28). After deprotection of the carbohydrate residue (50% TFA, room temperature), carbohydrate-decorated micelles were prepared by dialysis solvent exchange with water: DLS indicated a unimodal size distribution with hydrodynamic diameters in the range 35 nm–41 nm.

Ladmiral et al. [107] described the synthesis of a series of N-hydroxysuccinimidyl ester-terminated glycopolymers. To this aim, glucose (M13) and galactose (M20) monomers were polymerized in toluene at 70 °C in the presence of the activated α-bromoester A12. Polymerizations proceeded with pseudo-first order kinetics and a linear increase of molar mass with conversion but the efficiency of the initiator was low (37%–53%). Glycopolymers with Mn in the range 7000–15,000 Da and Đ = 1.10–1.31 were obtained at high conversions (Entry 51–53, 62–64, Table 2). Deprotection of the sugar moieties was carried out with formic acid at room temperature. Under the same conditions, fluorescent statistical copolymers were synthesized by copolymerizing glycomonomers M13 and M20 with fluorescent comonomer M27 (p = 90%, Đ< 1.19).

Chen et al. [105] combined ring opening and atom transfer radical polymerizations for the synthesis of amphiphilic linear and star block copolymers (Entry 54–55, Table 2). Hence, bi- and tetrafunctional initiators I1 and I2 (Scheme 9) were used in the ring opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone M19 (110 °C, 24 h) to obtain hydroxyl-terminated uniform polyesters (Đ < 1.16; Entry 48–49, Table 2). The latter were then reacted with 2-bromo-2-methylpropionyl bromide to give ATRP macro-initiators A7a and A7b. Chain extension, with galactose-derived methacrylate M20 (90 °C, anisole) yielded ABA and 4-arm star block glycopolymers. Maximum conversion in ATRP experiments was achieved after 30 min (p = 65% and 51% for linear and star polymers, respectively) with no further monomer was consumption later-on. The lack of high molar mass peaks in SEC traces suggests that no star-star coupling took place. Finally, the carbohydrate residues in the copolymer were deprotected with 80% formic acid at room temperature.

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Scheme 9. Initiators used by Chen et al. [105] for the ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone M19.

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Scheme 9. Initiators used by Chen et al. [105] for the ring-opening polymerization of ε-caprolactone M19.
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Chaikof et al. [119,120] prepared well-defined glycopolymer-polypeptide triblock copolymers of structure poly(L-alanine)-block-polyM21-block-poly(L-alanine) and poly(L-glutamate)-block-polyM21-block-poly(L-glutamate) by combining ATRP with the ROP of N-carboxyanhydrides (Entry 84–87, Table 2). First, β-lactoside M21 was polymerized using A8 as bifunctional initiator and CuBr(L2) as the catalyst (100 °C, chlorobenzene). Second, the obtained glycopolymers were converted into ROP macroinitiators by introducing a primary amine at their chain ends. Third, chain extension with L-alanine N-carboxyanhydride M22 or β-benzyl-L-glutamate N-carboxyanhydride M62 (DMF, R.T., 48-64 h) afforded the target block copolymers polyM22-block-polyM21-block-polyM22 and polyM62-block-polyM21-block-polyM62 (Scheme 10). Benzyl groups were then removed by hydrogenation (Pd/C, H2, RT) and carbohydrate residues were deprotected with hydrazine (DMSO, 0 °C). The resulting amphiphilic triblock glycopolymers self-assembled in aqueous solution to form nearly spherical aggregates 100–600 nm in diameter that specifically interacted with RCA120 lectins.

Muller et al. [111] employed silsesquioxane-derived macroinitiators for the synthesis of glycopolymer-inorganic hybrid stars. To this end, silsesquioxane nanoparticles were reacted with 2-Bromo-2-methylpropionyl bromide in Py/CHCl3 to yield initiator A14 (Mn = 10,500 Da, Đ = 1.25). The latter was used for the polymerization of glucofuranose methacrylate M13 (ethyl acetate, 60 °C, 25 min) in the presence of CuBr(L8) to obtain glycostars with molar masses up to 600,000 Da and Đ ≤ 1.26 (Entry 65–66, Table 2). The reaction worked best when stopped at low conversion and when high monomer to initiator ratios were used. The efficiency of the initiating sites (43%–44%) was estimated by comparing the experimental and theoretical DPn of the cleaved arms; the same estimation indicated ~25 arms per star. Both protected and deprotected (80% formic acid) glycostars adopted a spherical structure in THF and water solution, respectively, of comparable size (30–40 nm). However, deprotected glycostars in water partially aggregated via hydrogen-bonding interactions.

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Scheme 10. Structure of the ABA triblock glycopolymers prepared by Chaikof et al. (Entry 84–87, Table 2) [119,120].

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Scheme 10. Structure of the ABA triblock glycopolymers prepared by Chaikof et al. (Entry 84–87, Table 2) [119,120].
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The same group [112] synthesized hyper-branched glycopolymers by self-condensing vinyl copolymerization (SCVCP) of an acrylic inimer A15 with a protected glucofuranoside M9. In a preliminary study, the polymerization of M9 using A1 as the initiator and CuBr(L3) as the catalyst was investigated (ethyl acetate, 60 °C; Entry 67–69, Table 2). By varying the monomer to the initiator ratio, polymers with molar mass up to 30,000 Da were obtained in a controlled fashion (Mn/Mn,th ≤ 1.3), but molar mass dispersity increased monotonically with increasing molar mass (Mn = 7000 Da, Đ = 1.13; Mn = 30,000 Da, Đ = 1.37). The same conditions were then applied to the SCVCP of A15 and M9 (Entry 70-71, Table 2). As expected, the MHS exponent for the branched polymers in THF was found to be significantly lower than that for linear polyM9 for M > 104 Da, indicating more compact polymers. By increasing the monomer to inimer ratio higher molar mass copolymers could be obtained, but when ratios higher than 5 were tested multimodal mass distributions were observed in SEC. Finally, water soluble branched glycopolymers were obtained by deprotection with 80% formic acid at room temperature. This study was extended to the SCVCP of methacrylate inimer A16 with glucofuranoside methacrylate M13 using (PPh3)2NiBr2 as the catalyst (ethyl acetate, 100 °C) [113]. Higher polymerization rates were observed in this case (total conversion after 2–5 h) when compared to the analogous study with acrylate species and polymers with Mn up to 20,000 Da and Đ ≤ 2.12 were obtained (Entry 72–73, Table 2).

In an extension to this study, Muthukrishnan et al., (Entry 74, Table 2) [114], synthesized well-defined cylindrical brushes by using a macromolecular initiator (polyA16) for the polymerization of glucofuranoside methacrylateM13 in the presence of CuBr(L8) (ethyl acetate, 60 °C, 10–40 min). Reactions were stopped at low conversion (p < 11%) and analysis of the side chains detached by basic solvolysis indicated a grafting efficiency f ≅ 0.20–0.40. After deprotection of the carbohydrate residues, stretched wormlike structures were observed. In a similar way [115], polyM13 was grafted from the surface of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) functionalized with 2-bromo-2-methylpropionyl moieties (A19). In some cases A1 was also added as sacrificial initiator (Entry 75, Table 2). Kinetic investigations revealed that the content of polymer grafted on MWNTs increased with monomer conversion, that grafted chains of up to 37,000 Da were obtained and that molar mass dispersity increased with conversion (Đ = 1.27 for p = 0.18; Đ = 1.45 for p = 0.85). Hyperbranched glycopolymers were also grafted from MWNTs by self-condensing vinyl copolymerization (SCVCP) of M13 and inimer A16 in the presence of (PPh3)2NiBr2 (EtOAc, 100 °C; Entry 76, Table 2). After deprotection with 80% formic acid, MWNTs with high grafting density of hydroxyl groups and a core-shell structure were obtained that could be redispersed in water, methanol, DMSO and DMF.

Wang et al. [116] reported the synthesis of an amphiphilic ABA triblock glycopolymer starting from a bromo-terminated difunctional polysulfone macroinitiator (Entry 77, Table 2). First, bifunctional polysulfone (PSF) macroinitiator A21 was obtained from the reaction of bisphenol A and 4,4-dichlorophenyl sulfone in basic conditions (Scheme 11) followed by esterification with 2-bromoisobutyryl bromide. Chain extension with a protected glucofuranoside derivative M13 (anisole, 90 °C, 24 h) catalyzed by CuCl(L10) afforded a triblock copolymer with Mn = 12,500 Da and Đ = 1.18. Deprotection with formic acid yielded an amphiphilic triblock glycopolymer that self-assembled into spherical aggregates in aqueous solution.

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Scheme 11. Synthesis of bifunctional polysulfone macroinitiator A21 from Bisphenol A and 4,4-dichlorophenyl sulfone according to Wang et al. [116].

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Scheme 11. Synthesis of bifunctional polysulfone macroinitiator A21 from Bisphenol A and 4,4-dichlorophenyl sulfone according to Wang et al. [116].
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Linear and comb-like glycopolymers were synthesized by Ke et al., (Entry 78–80, Table 2) [106]. Polymerization conditions were similar in all cases and only the graft-copolymer synthesis will be described in here. PolySt-block-polyHEMA macroinitiator (A24) was synthesized by the chain extension of polySt-Br with HEMA (M33, 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) using CuBr(L3) as the catalyst (chlorobenzene, 80 °C) followed by esterification of the polyHEMA block with 2-bromoisobutyryl bromide. The resulting macroinitiator was then used in the polymerization of M32 under similar conditions to obtain polySt-block-(polyHEMA-graft-polyM32) with Mn = 25,000 Da and Đ = 1.43. All glycopolymer samples were then used for the preparation of honeycomb-patterned films by the breath figure method. Preliminary studies demonstrated that the glucose-decorated films had “specific” interactions with ConA.

Pfaff et al. [121] grafted linear and branched glycopolymers onto poly(divinylbenzene) (PDVB) microspheres (d = 1.5 µm) through standard and self-condensing vinyl copolymerization (SCVCP) ATRP, respectively. To this aim, a kinetic study of the SCVCP of acetylglucosamine-derived monomer M30 and A16 in different ratios was first investigated (DMSO, RT; Entry 92, Table 2). The study was then extended to the use of PDVB microspheres and after deprotection with MeONa, N-acetyl-β-d-glucosamine-displaying microspheres were obtained that could be easily dispersed in water and bind wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). In an extension to this work [122], poly(M30) chains were grafted from polystyrene latex nanospheres (d = 100 nm) pre-functionalized with 2-bromoisobutyryloxy groups (Entry 93; Table 2). Analysis of the free chains indicated a uniform glycopolymer (Đ = 1.12) of Mn = 96 700 Da, which corresponds to an initiator efficiency of ~0.45. SEM showed that the diameter of the nanospheres had doubled following the grafting process and a grafting density of 0.54 chains per nm2 of surface area was calculated. Following Zemplén deacetylation, the latex particles were used as carriers for catalytically active gold nanoparticles (d = 6.3 nm; synthesized in situ by the reaction of HAuCl4 and NaBH4) and for binding WGA.

Wang et al. [11] reported the synthesis of an ABA triblock copolymer based on acrylic acid M97, 3-acrylamidophenylboronic acid M95, and β-galactoside acrylate M98 for insulin release (Entry 56–57, Table 2). First, M98 was homopolymerized in the presence of bifunctional initiator A8 and CuBr(L2) (chlorobenzene, 80 °C) to afford a fairly uniform polymer (Ð = 1.17) with Mn = 5500 Da. Second, t-butyl acrylate M57 was polymerized in the presence of the macroinitiator polyM98·Br and (butanone/2-propanol 7:3; 90 °C, CuBr(L3)) to yield the triblock copolymer polyM57-block-polyM98-block-polyM57 (Mn = 21.6, Ð = 1.36). t-Butyl groups were then removed with trifluoroacetic acid and 3-aminophenylboronic acid was coupled to the acrylic acid units (EDC/HOBT, DMF) to afford poly(M97-stat-M95)-block-polyM98-block-poly(M97-stat-M95). After deprotection of the galactose moieties, insulin-loaded nanoparticles were prepared by nanoprecipitation in water. As expected, the release of insulin in solution was enhanced by acidic pH (~95% of the insulin released after 8 h at pH 1–3) and by and increasing concentration of glucose at physiological pH (thanks the boronic acid groups).

5.1.2. Styrenic Monomers

Menon et al. [142] described the synthesis of a photoresponsive amphiphilic glycopolymer and examined its self-assembly in aqueous solution (Entry 130–131, Table 2). To this end, styrenic glucofuranoside M109 was polymerized in the presence of A1 as the initiator and CuBr(L3) as the catalyst (THF, 60 °C). The resulting polyM109·Br (Mn = 12,300 Da, Ð = 1.19) was then used as macroinitiator for the polymerization of pyrenylmethyl methacrylate M110 under the same conditions to give polyM109-block-polyM110 (Mn = 21,200 Da, Ð = 1.46). After deprotection under acidic conditions (80% HCOOH), an amphiphilic glycopolymer was obtained that self-assembled in aqueous solution into spherical aggregates. The latter could be disrupted by cleaving the pyrenylmethyl ester bonds under UV irradiation.

Houga et al. [34,146] described the synthesis and self-assembly of a dextran/polySt diblock copolymer (Entry 129, Table 2). To this end, a 2-bromo-2-methylpropionamide group was introduced at the reducing end of dextran (Mn = 6600 Da, Đ = 1.4) by reductive amination to afford, after silylation the hydroxyl groups, macroinitiator A32. The latter was used for the polymerization of styrene catalyzed by CuBr(L3) (toluene, 90–100 °C, 20–90 min) to afford non-uniform polymers (1.4 ≤ Đ ≤ 1.9) with Mn in the range of 17,000–160,000 Da. After deprotection with HCl the amphiphilic glycopolymers self-assembled in water/DMSO (THF) to give micelle-like aggregates and polymersomes, depending on the exact system composition.

5.2. ATRP Starting from Unprotected Glycomonomers/Glycoinitiators

5.2.1. (Meth)acrylamide Monomers

Yu et al. [104] prepared three novel glycomonomers containing α-mannoside (M64), α-galactoside (M65), and α-glucoside (M66) residues and studied their grafting from silica wafers by surface initiated ATRP (Entry 47, Table 2), the wider aim being to prepare artificial glycocalyx. To this end, silicon wafers were functionalized with 2-chloropropionate groups (A28) and used as substrate for ATRP polymerizations. Methyl 2-chloropropionate was used as sacrificial initiator and the best results were obtained by conducting the polymerization in water (RT, 24 h) with CuCl(L11) as the catalyst (Mn = 51,000 Da, Đ = 1.5). The glycopolymer brushes showed ultralow adsorption of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and fibrinogen (Fb) and retained specific lectin recognition capacity. In a later study [147], their interaction with blood was also examined and it was found that the nature of the sugar residue (Glc, Man, or Gal) has an effect on the amount and type of plasma proteins being adsorbed, with glucose-functionalized brushes leading to the lowest adsorption.

5.2.2. (Meth)acrylate Monomers

The first examples in this class were reported by Armes and coworkers: [123,124,126] 2-gluconamidoethyl methacrylate M23 and 2-lactobionamidoethyl methacrylate M25 were polymerized at 20 °C using three different ATRP initiators (A9n, A10n and A11) and CuBr(L2) in methanol, methanol/water, water, and N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone. For M23 a higher proportion of water in the system resulted in a faster polymerization rate and a higher molar mass dispersity (Entry 94–96, Table 2). Chain extension of polyM23·Br with 2-(diethylamino) ethyl methacrylate (M24) in methanol afforded a pH-responsive diblock glycopolymer (Mn = 17,300 Da, Đ = 1.30). Similar results were obtained for the homopolymerization of M25 (using A10n or A11), but in this case methanol was not tested due to solubility problems (Entry 105–107, Table 2). The blocking efficiency of polyM25·Br was investigated by sequential addition of other methacrylates, namely glycerol monomethacrylate M26, 2-(diethylamino) ethyl methacrylate M24 and M23 (Entry 98, 108–109, Table 2). Finally, the pH- and temperature-dependent self-assembly of the block copolymers in water was demonstrated [126].

Building on these results, Narain [130] devised a versatile new approach for the preparation of well-defined streptavidin-glycopolymer bioconjugates. To this end M25 was polymerized using biotin–PEG macroinitiator A17 (Mn = 5100 Da, Đ = 1.07) and CuBr(L2) as the catalyst (N-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone, 20 °C; Entry 110, Table 2). Fairly uniform polymers (Đ ≤ 1.32) with Mn up to 24,000 Da whose rate of binding to streptavidin (tetrameric lectin) decreased with increasing molar mass.

The synthesis of well-defined glycopolymers biotinylated at their α-end was also the subject of a study by Maynard et al. (Entry 118–119; Table 2) [136]. Methacrylates with pendent N-acetyl-β-d-glucosamine M30 (peracetylated) and M31 were polymerized in DMSO (23 °C) and MeOH (30 °C), respectively, using CuBr(L9) or CuBr(L2) as the catalysts and biotin derivative A18 as the initiator. Polymerization in DMSO with CuBr(L9) was much faster than that in MeOH with CuBr(L2) (15 minvs. 90 min) but fairly uniform polymers were obtained in all cases (Đ ≤ 1.23) and molar mass increased linearly with conversion. Nevertheless, the latter was systematically much higher than the theoretical one. Following modified Zemplén deacetylation (when applicable). The ability of the biotinylated glycopolymers to interact with streptavidin was confirmed by SPR and 1H-NMR.

The same group devised a different strategy for the bioconjugation of glycopolymers [137]: N-Acetyl-β-d-glucosamine derivative M31 was polymerized in the presence of an initiator carrying a pyridyl disulfide group (A26, MeOH/H2O 3:1, 30 °C, 90 min) to yield a uniform polymer (Đ = 1.12) with Mn = 10,000 Da (Entry 120, Table 2). After purification the glycopolymer was conjugated to a 5′-thiol modified short interfering RNA (siRNA) double strand via disulfide bond exchange and used for surface micro-patterning through micro-contact printing.

Mateescu et al. [127] immobilized a self-assembled monolayer of ω-mercaptoundecyl bromoisobutyrate onto a gold surface and used it to grow glycopolymer brushes based on D-gluconamidoethyl methacrylate M23 and 2-lactobionamidoethyl methacrylate M25 (CuBr(L2), water or water/methanol). The resulting surface roughness was below 1 nm (as measured by AFM) suggesting the preparation of very smooth glycopolymer films. Finally, the latter exhibited strong binding interactions with specific lectins (ConA and RCA120).

Qiu et al. [125] synthesized star-shaped polypeptide/glycopolymer block copolymers (Scheme 12). To this aim, poly(β-benzyl-L-glutamate) was synthesized by the ring opening polymerization of M62 initiated by a tetra-functional polyamidoamine I7. The resulting polymer was transformed into macroinitiator A25 and used in the polymerization of D-gluconamidoethyl methacrylate M23 to afford a 4-arm star with a Mn = 64,500–87,400 Da and Đ = 1.18–1.45 (Entry 97, Table 2). In aqueous solution these biohybrid polymers self-assembled into large spherical aggregates with a helical polypeptide core surrounded by a multivalent glycopolymer shell. Following deprotection of the polypeptide block, the same polymers showed a pH-sensitive self-assembly behavior. Finally, these nanoparticles showed a higher doxorubicin loading efficiency and a longer drug-release time than those obtained with the analogous linear polymers.

Leon et al. [138,139] reported the synthesis of amphiphilic block glycopolymers derived from D-glucosamide methacrylate M63. According to one strategy (Entry 121–124, Table 2), M63 was homopolymerized using a monofunctional (A1) or a bifunctional initiator (A27) at 40 and 50 °C respectively (DMF, CuBr(L3)). The resulting mono- and bi-functional macroinitiators were used to synthesize amphiphilic diblock and triblock glycopolymers with n-butyl acrylate M47 (DMF, 90 °C). Fairly uniform copolymers were thus obtained (Đ ≤ 1.38) with good to excellent control over the molar mass (0.87 ≤ Mn/Mn,th≤ 0.98). The self-assembly of these glycopolymers in NaCl 0.1 mol L−1 led to aggregates with d = 38–44 nm. Also, their interaction with ConA was found to depend on molar mass and copolymer composition. According to an alternative strategy (Entry 125–126, Table 2), n-butyl acrylate was polymerized in bulk using a monofunctional (A20a) or a bifunctional initiator (A30) at 100 °C and 70 °C, respectively. The resulting macroinitiators were then chain extended with M63 (DMF, 90 °C) to afford amphiphilic di- and tri-block glycopolymers that self-assembled in aqueous solution to give spherical micelles polymersomes.

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Scheme 12. Synthetic strategy used by Qui et al. [125] for the synthesis of four-arm star biohybrids.

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Scheme 12. Synthetic strategy used by Qui et al. [125] for the synthesis of four-arm star biohybrids.
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The same group [140] demonstrated the use of these amphiphilic block glycopolymers as polymeric surfactants for the emulsion polymerization of butyl methacrylate and the preparation of glycosylated latex particles. To this aim, polyM63-block-polyM46 was prepared as described above (Mn 32,700 Da, 20% butyl methacrylate w/w; Entry 127, Table 2) and the monomer content in emulsion experiments was adjusted to 5% w/w. An increasing amount of glycopolymer surfactant (2% to 8% w/w of butyl methacrylate) was found to increase the rate of polymerization and to reduce the z-average particle diameter of the final latex. By contrast, the polydispersity index of all latex samples was lower than 0.1, implying narrow particle size distribution. Polymer films were prepared from these glycosylated latexes which specifically interacted with ConA.

The same group [141] extended the study of amphiphilic glycopolymers based on polyM63 to their use for the preparation of porous films and microspheres using the breath figures technique. To this aim polyM15·A1 (PMMA) was chain extended with glucosamine-derived methacrylate M63 using CuCl(L3) as the catalyst (DMF, 40 °C) to afford a uniform block copolymer with Mn = 16,500 Da and Ð = 1.12 (Entry 128, Table 2). Polymer blend solutions of PMMA and glycopolymer (polyM15-block-polyM63 or polyM15-stat-polyM63) were prepared in THF/H2O and were cast onto glass wafers inside a closed chamber under controlled humidity. Depending on the morphology of the copolymer (statistical or block), humidity of the atmosphere and the amount of water in THF, the authors were capable of tuning the final pattern structures from microporous films to microparticles. The availability of carbohydrate moieties on the surface of these structures was confirmed by their interaction with ConA lectin.

Yang et al. [131] grafted linear and comb-like glycopolymer chains onto poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) track etched membranes by surface-initiated ATRP (Entry 112–113; Table 2). To this end, 2-bromo-2-methylpropionate was immobilized onto the membrane surface (Scheme 13) and the resulting substrate A39 was used for the polymerization of lactobionic acid derivative M25 (water or N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, RT) to yield linear glycopolymer brushes. Alternatively, poly(HEMA) was grafted from the surface of A39 and transformed into poly(A16) by reaction with 2-bromo-2-methylpropionyl bromide. The resulting substrate A40 was then used for the polymerization of M25 as described above to yield comb-like polymer brushes. Polymerizations worked best in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone, whereas the use of water led to high radical concentration and loss of control. A relatively low grafting density of poly(M25) and, most likely, poly(HEMA) led to a “mushroom” conformation of the linear chains. Accordingly, the transformation of poly(A16) into poly(HEMA)-graft-poly(M25) resulted in a large increase in dry layer thickness of grafted polymer. Both linear and the comb-like grafted layers showed very high binding capacities for PNA lectin under static and dynamic conditions but negligible nonspecific protein binding.

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Scheme 13. Strategy for the grafting of linear and comblike polyM25 on track etched poly(ethylene terephthalate) membranes described by Yang et al. [131].

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Scheme 13. Strategy for the grafting of linear and comblike polyM25 on track etched poly(ethylene terephthalate) membranes described by Yang et al. [131].
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Klumperman et al. [129,148,149] described the synthesis of a series of cylindrical brushes carrying α-methylglucoside-functionalized graft chains and investigated their thermal and mechanical properties (Entry 101–104, Table 2). To this end, four macroinitiators based on HEMA (M33), MMA (M15), 4-vinylbenzyl chloride (M58), and maleic anhydride (MAnh) were synthesized by ATRP or RAFT copolymerization, followed by chemical modification with 2-bromo-2-methylpropionyl bromide as needed. The macroinitiators were then used in the ATRP polymerization M36 using CuBr(L4) as the catalyst (DMF, 60 °C, 1–1.5 h) to afford cylindrical glycopolymer brushes with different grafting densities. All glycopolymers showed similar thermal degradation profiles irrespective of the number of graft chains. The storage modulus in bulk at room temperature was found to be high for all glycopolymer brushes due to the great number of hydrogen bonding interactions that confer sufficient rigidity to the material in spite of its amorphous nature. Just above Tg both the storage modulus G′ and the loss modulus G″ increased rapidly with increasing frequency, with G′ being dominant at low frequencies. Solutions of glycopolymer brushes in DMF showed non-Newtonian shear-thinning behaviour, in which the viscosities linearly decreased with increasing frequency up to about 10 rad s−1; afterwards the complex viscosity tended to increase and exhibited shear-thickening behavior. The same macromolecular architectures were also synthesized starting from macroinitiators prepared by RAFT polymerization mediated by cyanoisopropyl dithiobenzoate R10 (AIBN I4, at 60 °C) [149].

The synthesis of a fluorescent glycopolymer in a “one pot” reaction by the combination of click chemistry and ATRP was described by Xu et al. [133] Hence 2-Azidoethyl methacrylate M89 was polymerized using a fluorescent bifunctional initiator A31 and in the presence of 2-propynyl-α-d-mannopyranoside (Scheme 14): the same copper complex catalyzed the ATRP process and the Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition. Fairly uniform water soluble glycopolymers with Mn ranging from 20,000 Da to 50,000 Da and Đ = 1.21–1.33 were thus obtained that exhibited strong affinity to E. coli and low toxicity for 3T3 fibroblasts, macrophages and KB cells. This type of glycopolymer could be used for targeted cell imaging.

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Scheme 14. One pot synthesis of a fluorescent glycopolymer as described by Xu et al. [133].

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Scheme 14. One pot synthesis of a fluorescent glycopolymer as described by Xu et al. [133].
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Yuan et al. [150] described the surface glycosylation of a poly(vinylidene difluoride) (PVDF) microporous membrane using Activators Generated by Electron Transfer Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (AGET ATRP). To this aim, the surface methylene fluoride groups of PVDF were used as initiators for the polymerization of D-gluconamidoethyl methacrylate M23 in the presence of CuCl2(L3) and of ascorbic acid as the reducing agent (water of water/MeOH, 30 °C). The highest grafting density (2.40 μmol of M23/cm2) was obtained in H2O after 40 h of reaction and with ascorbic acid/CuCl2 ratio of 13/29. It is worth noting that in H2O the polymerization rate slowed down with time due irreversible termination of propagating radicals. The hydrophilic character of the glycosylated membrane was confirmed by a reduction of water contact angle from 110° to 30°, which enhanced the anti-fouling properties and biocompatibility of the membrane.

The same group [151] also investigated the glycosylation of chloromethylated polysulfone (CMPSF) microporous membrane using surface-initiated ATRP. To this end, polyM23 was grafted from the surface of CMPSF using CuCl(L3) as the catalyst (water, 30 °C). The grafting yield increased linearly during the first four hours but reached a plateau of 6 mg/cm2 after 16 h. The capacity of such membrane to complex boric acid in aqueous solution increased when pH increased from 6 to 9 and with increasing ionic strengths (up to 100 mM NaCl). Interestingly, the membrane could be regenerated upon acid treatment (“acid leaching method”) without any degradation.

Kitano et al. [128,134] reported the synthesis of thiol-terminated glycopolymers (Entry 100 and 116; Table 2) and their grafting on a colloidal gold-immobilized glass substrate for the study of binding and adsorption processes by UV–Vis spectrophotometer with the help of a localized surface plasmon resonance. To this end, 2-(2-bromoisobutyroyloxy)ethyl disulfide A34 was used to initiated the polymerization of glucoside methacrylate M34a and mannoside methacrylate derivatives M34b catalyzed by CuBr(L2) in MeOH, MeOH/H2O, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone or N-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone/ H2O mixtures (RT, 5–24 h). Fairly uniform polymers were obtained from M34b (Ð = 1.20–1.37) having Mn in the range 7800–15,000 Da, whereas the results from M34a were mediocre (Ð = 1.44–1.64 with Mn = 1800–8600 Da). Subsequently, the hydroxyl groups of polyM34a were sulfated with SO3/pyridine complex (DMF, RT, 0.7 < DS< 3.9) and both polymers were grafted to gold colloid-glass chip via their disulfide bond. The binding of ConA lectin to D-mannopyranoside-carrying polyM34b brushes was then studied, whereas it was demonstrated that sulfated polyM34a brushes adsorbed amyloid β-peptide molecules. The latter are suspected to cause the neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease following their deposition in plaques in brain tissue [152].

O’Connell et al. [132] examined the adsorption kinetics and behavior of an α-d-mannoside-derived glycopolymer on planar surfaces of silica and cellulose- or poly(L-glutamic acid)-covered silica using Evanescent Wave Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy (EW-CRDS). To this end, polyM67 was synthesized in a one-pot two-step reaction catalyzed by CuBr(L7): First 2-azidoethyl-O-α-d-mannopyranoside was coupled with propargyl methacrylate to yield M67, second its polymerization was initiated by the introduction of coumarin-derived initiator A35 (DMSO, 60 °C, 30 min). A fairly uniform polymer was thus obtained having Mn = 28,800 Da and Ð = 1.25 (Entry 114, Table 2) and carrying a coumarin tag at its α-end. Its adsorption kinetics were seen to be highly surface dependent with highest rates on cellulose-modified surfaces and on basic silica surfaces.

5.2.3. Styrenic Monomers

The synthesis of polystyrene particles decorated with pendant thio-glucoside and thio-lactoside residues was reported by Kohri et al. [153] Initially, polystyrene particles bearing ATRP initiating sites were prepared by emulsifier-free emulsion polymerization of St and 2-chloropropyloxyethyl methacrylate A39. The resulting latex was then used in the polymerizations of S-glucoside- derived (M90) or S-lactoside- derived (M91) monomers in water or methanol/water (1:4) mixtures catalyzed by CuCl(L9) (30 °C, 24 h). Glycopolymer-decorated particles were thus obtained having a hydrated graft layer of 15–65 nm and a core ~400 nm in diameter; these particles showed a highly specific response toward lectins ConA and PNA.

5.3. Glycopolymers from Post-Polymerization Reactions

Haddleton et al. [143] synthesized a series of glycopolymers by combining copper-catalyzed Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition (“click” chemistry) and ATRP. To this end, alkyne side chain polymers were prepared either by the homopolymerization of (trimethylsilyl)ethynyl methacrylate M28 or by its copolymerization with MMA M15 or PEG methacrylate M29 in presence of CuBr(L7) as the catalyst (initiator A13, toluene, 70 °C; Entry 133, 134, and 136, Table 2). A kinetic study showed first order plots for monomer consumption combined with a non-linear increase of the molar mass with conversion. Uniform polymers (Đ< 1.16) with molar mass up to 17,600 Da were obtained but the control over the latter was rather poor (Mn/Mn,th > 1.5). Following deprotection of the trimethylsilyl groups (AcOH, TBAF, THF), azido-functionalized monosaccharides (Scheme 15) were coupled to the ethynyl groups of the polymers via a Cu(I)-catalyzed “click” reaction. In particular, the same precursor polymer was functionalized with α-mannoside and (or) α-galactoside residues to afford a number of ligands differing only in the density of lectin epitopes. The interaction of these glycoligands with ConA (α-mannoside selective) and RCA I (α-galactoside selective) was tested: The rate of formation and stability of the ligand-ConA conjugates was directly proportional to the mannoside density in the polymer and the average number of ConA tetramers bound by each polymer chain reached a plateau for 75% mannoside content. In a later study, [154] the same glycoligands were tested for their ability to inhibit the interaction between human DC-SIGN (a C-type lectin receptor present on both macrophages and dendritic cells) and the HIV envelope glycoprotein gp120: The fully mannosylated polymer was found to have an IC50 of 37 nM, although it is not clear if this value refers to the concentration of carbohydrate residues.

The same group [135] studied the synthesis of well-defined protein-glycopolymer biohybrid materials and their ability of binding mammalian lectins and inducing immunological reactions. Starting from the azidosugar α-PrN3-Man (Scheme 15), two synthetic pathways were followed for the synthesis of mannoside-functionalized glycopolymers: Glycomonomer M67 was obtained from the coupling of α-PrN3-Man with (trimethylsilyl)ethynyl methacrylate and copolymerized with rodamine methacrylate M93 (1 mole %) using protected maleimide initiator A29 (MeOH/H2O 5:2, RT). A fairly uniform polymer (Đ = 1.20) was thus obtained having a molar mass of 26,100 Da (Entry 117, Table 2). Alternatively, (trimethylsilyl)ethynyl methacrylate M28 and rodamine methacrylate M93 (1 mol %) were copolymerized first (toluene, 30 °C) and α-PrN3-Man was clicked to the polymeric backbone after the removal of the silyl group (Mn = 16,400 Da, Đ = 1.28). Finally, the maleimide group at the α-end of the glycopolymer was deprotected by simple heating and used for conjugation to BSA though its single cysteine residue (Scheme 16). Surface plasmon resonance tests carried out in the presence of a model mammalian lectin revealed a significant and dose-dependent binding of the latter to the BSA-glycopolymer conjugates. ELISA tests also revealed that the latter were able to activate the complement system via the lectin pathway.

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Scheme 15. Azidosugars used by Haddleton et al. for the functionalization of poly(alkyne methacrylate)s [135,143].

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Scheme 15. Azidosugars used by Haddleton et al. for the functionalization of poly(alkyne methacrylate)s [135,143].
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Scheme 16. Conjugation of a glycopolymer with bovine serum albumin (BSA) as described by Haddleton et al. [135].

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Scheme 16. Conjugation of a glycopolymer with bovine serum albumin (BSA) as described by Haddleton et al. [135].
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Gou et al. [145] studied the layer-by-layer assembly of glycopolymers and lectins by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring (QCM-D). To this end, (trimethylsilyl)ethynyl methacrylate M28 was polymerized using bifunctional disulfide initiator A34 (CuBr(L7), toluene, 90 °C) and the resulting polymer was deprotected as described above (Entry 138, Table 2). Azido-mannoside α-N3-Man (Scheme 15) was then clicked to the polymer backbone to afford the desired glycopolymer poly(α-N3-Man) disulfide (Mn = 35,700 Da, Ð = 1.84). Poly(α-N3-Man) and poly(α-EtN3-Man-stat-α-EtN3-Gal) were synthesized in a similar way (Scheme 17) [135]. Two approaches were then followed for preparing the LBL assemblies: either poly(α-N3-Man) disulfide was deposited first on the QCM-D gold chips, or the latter were chemically modified with the NHS ester of 11-mercaptoundecanoic acid and a first layer of ConA was immobilized on it. In both cases, what followed was the deposition of alternate layers of ConA (an α-Man selective lectin), poly(α-EtN3-Man-stat-α-EtN3-Gal) (Mn = 22,000 Da, Ð = 1.29–1.34), and PNA (an α-Gal selective lectin). By varying the concentration of the polymer and lectins the mass and thickness of layers could be tuned and the composition of the copolymer influenced the interaction with the lectins (e.g., the adsorption of PNA was maximum for a 50:50 Man/Gal copolymer). A study of the link between surface binding and solution inhibition was also conducted with the same set-up, but the preliminary results are inconclusive [155].

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Scheme 17. Polymers synthesized by Gou et al. [145,155] in their study.

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Scheme 17. Polymers synthesized by Gou et al. [145,155] in their study.
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Scherman et al. [156] described a sophisticated strategy for the synthesis of a flexible and reversible supramolecular glycopolymer based on cucurbit(8)uril (supramolecular “handcuff”) and viologen α-mannoside (Scheme 18). First, 2-naphthol methacrylate M92 was either homopolymerized or copolymerized with fluorescent rhodamine methacrylate M93 in the presence of A33 and CuBr(L2) (toluene, 70 °C) to afford a uniform polymer scaffold with Mn = 4200–14,100 Da and Đ = 1.04–1.11. Second, the latter polymer was added to an aqueous solution of cucurbit(8)uril/viologen α-mannoside complex to afford a multivalent glycopolymer complexes. Then, the binding of such glycopolymers with ConA was demonstrated.

Muñoz-Bonilla et al. [157] described the synthesis of diblock and triblock amphiphilic glycopolymers with pendant D-glucosamine or N-(4-aminobutyl)-d-gluconamide residues. To this end, 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate M33 polymerized using two poly(butyl acrylate) macroinitiators (polyM47-Br, Mn = 8200 Da, Ð = 1.16; or Br-polyM47-Br, Mn =11,600 Da, Ð = 1.16) in the presence of CuCl(L2) in DMF at 80 °C. Both polymerizations proceeded with first order kinetics and a linear increase of molar mass with conversion to afford reasonably uniform polymers (Ð = 1.2–1.5). The hydroxyl groups of the polymer backbone were part activated with p-nitrophenyl chloroformate and amino-sugars were introduced by nucleophilic attack. The self-assembly of some of these glycopolymers in water was then studied by DLS: These copolymers engage in strong hydrogen bond interactions that could be disrupted by the addition of salt (NaCl 0.1 mol L−1). Interestingly, glycopolymers bearing N-glucosamine residues bound to ConA, although the exact extent and selectivity of such interaction was not quantified.

Richards et al. [144] studied the influence of carbohydrate density and linker length on the binding of a glycopolymer to toxin Ctx secreted by Vibrio cholerae. To this end, pentafluorophenyl methacrylate M112 was polymerized in the presence of A1 as the initiator and of CuBr(L3) as the catalyst (toluene, 65 °C). Fairly uniform polymers (а 1.20) with Mn in the range 7800–11,400 Da were obtained (Entry 135, Table 2) that were modified with a propargyl amine derivative (PA1 or PA2) and 3-aminopropanol (Scheme 19). The propargyl groups were then coupled with β-N3-Gal to afford glycopolymers with various linker lengths and sugar densities (Mn = 5000–12,000 Da, Ð ≤ 1.32). Increasing inhibition of the B subunit of Ctx was observed when glycopolymers with longer linkers were used. Also, the highest and lowest density polymers tested (100% and 10%) were most active on a per-sugar basis.

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Scheme 18. Synthesis of a supramolecular glycopolymer as described by Scherman et al. [156].

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Scheme 18. Synthesis of a supramolecular glycopolymer as described by Scherman et al. [156].
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Scheme 19. Post-modification route described by Richards et al. [144] for the synthesis of glycopolymers.

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Scheme 19. Post-modification route described by Richards et al. [144] for the synthesis of glycopolymers.
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6. Reversible Addition-fragmentation Chain Transfer (RAFT) Polymerization

The structures of the control agents and intitiators used for the synthesis of glycopolymers by RAFT are reported in Scheme 20 and Scheme 21, respectively.

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Scheme 20. Reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) agents used for the synthesis of glycopolymers.

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Scheme 20. Reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) agents used for the synthesis of glycopolymers.
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Scheme 21. Initiators used in the synthesis of glycopolymers by RAFT.

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Scheme 21. Initiators used in the synthesis of glycopolymers by RAFT.
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6.1. RAFT Starting from Protected Glycomonomers/GlycoRAFT Agents

6.1.1. (Meth)acrylamide Monomers

Table 3 summarizes the reults obtained for the synthesis of glycopolymers by RAFT polymerization [12,158,159,160,161,162,163,164,165,166,167,168,169,170,171,172,173,174,175,176,177,178,179,180,181,182,183,184,185,186,187,188,189,190,191,192,193,194,195,196,197,198,199,200,201,202,203,204,205,206,207,208,209,210,211,212]. In their study on thermoresponsive glycopolymers, Voit et al. [161] described both the RAFT homopolymerization of glucofuranose methacrylamides M48 and M49 bearing a hydrophobic linker and their copolymerization with NIPAAm M42 (Entry 145–149, Table 3). Homopolymerizations were conducted in the presence of R10 (anisole, 80 °C or dioxane, 70 °C) and, in the case of M48, proceeded with pseudo-first order kinetics to afford a fairly uniform polymer (Đ = 1.34). Since the initiator was AIBN and the process was run at 80 °C though, the polymerization slowed down after about 50% conversion (5 h) and reached a maximum of 60% conversion after ~8 h. Random and block copolymerizations with NiPAM were also conducted (in DMF, anisole or dioxane at 70 °C or 100 °C) and polymers with varying molar mass distributions were obtained (1.19 ≤ Đ ≤ 4). Deprotection with 80% formic acid led to water soluble, temperature-responsive copolymers whose critical phase transition temperature (Tc) depended on the copolymer composition and structure: In random copolymers an increase of Tc was observed with increasing glycomonomer content, while block copolymers had sharper transitions.

Gody et al. [158] synthesized biotinylated glycopolymers via the RAFT copolymerization of galactose acrylamide M52 with NAM (M53) mediated by biotin-RAFT agent R13 (dioxane, 90 °C; Entry 139, Table 3). Molar mass increased linearly with global conversion but above 40% the dispersity index increased substantially and a final value of Đ ≅ 1.5 was obtained at p = 0.80. The presence of the biotin ligand at the α-chain end was confirmed by 1H NMR spectroscopy and MALDI-ToF MS analyses of low molar mass samples (Mn < 2700 Da) obtained at conversions ≤ 48%. Finally, deprotection of the sugar residues was achieved in a H2O/TFA (1:5 v/v) at RT.

Table 3. Glycopolymers by reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization.

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Table 3. Glycopolymers by reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer (RAFT) polymerization.
EntryCarbohydrateMonomer(s)RAFT agentInitiatorConv. %Mn (×10−3)Mn/Mn,th aĐStructureApplication sought/testedReference
(Meth)acrylamide monomers (protected)
139galactose (α/β, 6-N)M52/M53R13I480~17~1.5A-stat-BGody et al. [158]
140galactose (β-N)M100R26I4>7011.91.18homolectin recognitionSu et al. [159]
141 agalactose (α/β, 6-O)M102R5I4935.20.71.14homoWei et al. [160]
142 agalactose (α/β, 6-O)M102R28I410028.61.431.49hyperbranchedWei et al. [160]
143 agalactose (α/β, 6-O)M20R27I4919.71.611.48hyperbranchedWei et al. [160]
144 bgalactose (α/β, 6-O)M20R27I482231.61.44hyperbranchedWei et al. [160]
145glucose (α/β, 3-O)M48R10I46011.60.881.34homoOzyurek et al. [161]
146glucose (α/β, 3-O)M48/M42R10I48020.5 c1.69 cA-stat-BOzyurek et al. [161]
147glucose (α/β, 3-O)M49/M42R10I46518.7 c1.29 cA-stat-BOzyurek et al. [161]
148glucose (α/β, 3-O)M48polyM42·R10I415.21.57block ABOzyurek et al. [161]
149glucose (α/β, 3-O)M49polyM42·R10I4271.69block ABOzyurek et al. [161]
150glucose (β-N)M99R26I4>7011.91.2homolectin recognitionSu et al. [159]
151mannose (α-O)M53/M61R13I47312.71.261.2A-stat-Bavidin and lectin recognitionJiang et al. [162]
152mannose (α-O)M53/M61R16I4839.71.211.14A-stat-Blectin recognitionJiang et al. [162]
153N-acetylglucosamine (β-O)M53/M60R13I48553.70.911.6A-stat-Bavidin and lectin recognitionJiang et al. [162]
154N-acetylglucosamine (β-O)M53/M60R16I49362.31.021.46A-stat-Blectin recognitionJiang et al. [162]
(Meth)acrylamide monomers (unprotected)
155cellobiose (β-O)M108R33I39822.51.22homoBelardi et al. [163]
156galactose (α-O)M77b/M75R18I834121.4A-stat-Blectin recognitionToyoshima et al. [164]
157gluconic acid (amide)M69R1I3938.90.821.18homocytotoxicity testsDeng et al. [165]
158gluconic acid (amide)M70R1I37818.20.961.2homocytotoxicity testsDeng et al. [165]
159gluconic acid (amide)M71polyM69·R1I37015.30.831.44block ABcytotoxicity testsDeng et al. [165]
160gluconic acid (amide)M55polyM70·R1I37018.41.471.4block ABcytotoxicity testsDeng et al. [165]
161gluconic acid (amide)M72polyM69·R1I370251.051.39block ABcytotoxicity testsDeng et al. [165]
162gluconic acid (amide)M70/M55R1I329.51.29A-stat-Bgene deliveryAhmed et al. [166]
163gluconic acid (amide)M70/M71R1I318.21.31A-stat-Bgene deliveryAhmed et al. [166]
164gluconic acid (amide)M70/M106R1I3382.5hyperbranchedbiomedicalAhmed et al. [167]
165gluconic acid (amide)M70/M71/ M106R1I3272.5hyperbranchedgene deliveryAhmed et al. [168]
166glucosamine (α/β, 2-N)M41R5 dI389100.81.21.26homoBernard et al. [169]
167glucosamine (α/β, 2-N)M41R5 eI3196.61.41.15homoBernard et al. [169]
168glucosamine (α/β, 2-N)M42polyM41·R5I38888.41.07<1.25block ABBernard et al. [169]
169glucosamine (α/β, 2-N)M41R7I34072.21.221.21star (3-arm)Bernard et al. [169]
170glucosamine (α/β, 2-N)M41R21I47913.52.141.3homoTing et al. [170]
171glucosamine (α/β, 2-N)StpolyM41·R21I38338.51.631.65lattexlectin recognitionTing et al. [170]
172glucosamine (α/β, 2-N)StpolyM41·R21I3816601.33latex (cross-linked)lectin recognitionTing et al. [170]
173glucosamine (α/β)M84R24I411.71.24homoSmith et al. [171]
174glucosamine (α/β)M71polyM84·R24I414.41.15block ABgene deliverySmith et al. [171]
175glucosamine (α/β)M71polyM84·R24I417.81.12block ABgene deliverySmith et al. [171]
176glucose (α-O)M85R5I3851131.08homoAbdelkader et al. [172]
177glucose (β-N)M116polyM53I425.60.741.06block ABAAlbertin et al. [173]
178glucuronic acid (β-O)M81/M75R18I881731.7A-stat-BbiomedicalMiura et al. [174]
179lactobionic acid (amide)M105/M106R1I3362.2hyperbranchedbiomedicalAhmed et al. [167]
180lactobionic acid (amide)M105/M71/M106R1I3312.1hyperbranchedgene deliveryAhmed et al. [168]
181lactose (β-O)M107aR33I39520.71.21homoBelardi et al. [163]
182mannose (α-O)M76R18I88547.51.2homolectin recognitionToyoshima et al. [175]
183mannose (α-O)M76/M75R18I8829.31.5A-stat-Blectin recognitionToyoshima et al. [175]
184mannose (α-O)M76/M75R18I8201.3A-stat-BbiosensorIshii et al. [176]
185mannose (2-deoxy-2-azido, α-O)M86R5I350371.35homoAbdelkader et al. [172]
186mannose (2-deoxy-2-azido, α-O)M86R5I975561.15homoAbdelkader et al. [172]
187N-acetylglucosamine (α-O)M77/M75R18I8198.61.5A-stat-Blectin recognitionToyoshima et al. [175]
188N-acetylglucosamine (6-sulfo, β-O)M80/M75R18I8672101A-stat-BbiomedicalMiura et al. [174]
189N-acetylglucosamine (6-sulfo, β-O)M80/M81/M75R18I8167.61.4A-stat-B-stat-CbiomedicalMiura et al. [174]
(Meth)acrylate monomers (protected)
190fructose (α/β, 3-O)M45R9I59141.22.481.25homoAl-Bagoury et al. [177]
191galactose (α/β, 6-O)M20R9I47513.91.2homoLowe et al. [178]
192galactose (α/β, 6-O)M20R10I412.31.18homoLowe et al. [178]
193galactose (α/β, 6-O)M44polyM20I416.31.2block ABLowe et al. [178]
194galactose (α/β, 6-O)M74R22I486511.111.17homoTing et al. [179]
195galactose (α/β, 6-O)M74R17I473520.711.2block ABbiomedicalTing et al. [179]
196galactose (α/β, 3-O)M13R1I3404.10.941.12homoLiu et al. [180]
197galactose (α/β, 3-O)M13polyM7918I371.19block ABlectin recognition/ biomedicalLiu et al. [180]
198galactose (α/β, 6-O)M20R10I48613.71.22homobiosensorPfaff et al. [181]
199galactose (α/β, 6-O)M96/M20polyM20·R10I414.81.18A-block-(B-stat-C)biosensorPfaff et al. [181]
200galactose (β-O)M101R1I350-606.30.961.1homolectin recognition, antioxidantShi et al. [182]
201glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13R11I59021317.81.9homoAl-Bagoury et al. [177]
202glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13R11I460313641.58homoAl-Bagoury et al. [177]
203glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13R10I53020.94.011.32homoAl-Bagoury et al. [177]
204glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13R9I59927.72.641.1homoAl-Bagoury et al. [177]
205glucose (α/β, 3-O)M13R1I3436.41.21homolectin recognitionLuo et al. [183]
206glucose (α/β, 3-O)M33polyM13I3457.51.21block ABlectin recognitionLuo et al. [183]
207glucose (α/β, 3-O)M42poly(M13-block-M33)I3359.31.27block ABAlectin recognitionLuo et al. [183]
208glucose (α/β, 3-O)M9R32I46.41.14homoGlassner et al. [184]
209glucose (α/β, 3-O)M9R23I4254.21.2homoKaupp et al. [185]
210glucose (β-O)M113aR10I474 f21.91.09homolectin recognitionDan et al. [186]
211glucose (β-O)M113bR10I446 f131.12homolectin recognitionDan et al. [186]
212lactose (β-O)M43R9I4316.290.871.09homostationary phaseGuo et al. [187]
213lactose (β-O)M43R1I4>90201.22homogene therapyZhou et al. [188]
(Meth)acrylate monomers (unprotected)
214galactose (β-O)M38R1I380241.011.09homolectin recognitionSpain et al. [189]
215galactose (β-O)M38/M115R35I3> 9912.21.2A-stat-BbiomedicalSong et al. [12]
216gluconic acid (amide)M23R14I3> 9514.11.19homostreptavidin bindingHousni et al. [190]
217glucose (α/β-O)M34aR1I37027.41.311.03homoLowe et al. [191]
218glucose (α/β-O)M34aR1I34014.21.181.07homoLowe et al. [191]
219glucose (α/β-O)M34apolyM34aI333.80.921.54block ABLowe et al. [191]
220glucose (α/β-O)M35polyM34aI337.11.63block ABLowe et al. [191]
221glucose (β-S, 6-O)M103polyM59I45315.20.941.45block ABbiomedicalPearson et al. [192]
222glucose (α/β-O)M34apolyM36·R1I371520.821.2block ABAlbertin et al. [193]
223glucose/mannose (α/β; or α-methyl, 6-O)M37polyM34a·R1I35261.30.751.16block ABAlbertin et al. [193]
224 gglucose (α-methyl, 6-OM36R1I39732712.53.67homoAlbertin et al. [194]
225 hglucose (α-methyl, 6-O)M36R1I3991746.61.75homoAlbertin et al. [194]
226 iglucose (α-methyl, 6-O)M36R1I310026.30.931.14homoAlbertin et al. [194]
227 iglucose (α-methyl, 6-O)M33polyM36·R1I3451.2block ABAlbertin et al. [195]
228lactobionic acid (amide)M25R15I3>9524.71.22homostreptavidin bindingHousni et al. [190]
229mannose (α/β, 6-O)M39R1I47142.51.23homoPfaff et al. [196]
230mannose (α/β, 6-O)M39R1I3≥9585≅1.131.06homolectin recognitionGranville et al. [197]
231mannose (β-O)M114/M115R35I3>9911.41.2A-stat-BbiomedicalSong et al. [12]
232N-acetylglucosamine (β-O)M31/M115R35I3>9913.11.2A-stat-BbiomedicalSong et al. [12]
Vinyl ester monomers (unprotected)
233glucose (α/β, 6-O)M40R2I31417.11.1homoAlbertin et al. [198]
234glucose (α/β, 6-O)M40R3I32719.61.19homoAlbertin et al. [198]
235glucose (α/β, 6-O)M40R4I350~281.48star (4-arm)Bernard et al. [199]
Diene-like monomers (unprotected)
236mannose (α-O)M78R5I34851.51.16homolectin recognitionHetzer et al. [200]
237mannose (α-O)M42polyM78I432.41.12block ABlectin recognitionHetzer et al. [200]
Styrenic monomers (protected)
238galactose (α/β, 6-O)M50R11I48527≅ 0.61.1homoprotein bioconjugationXiao et al. [201]
239galactose (α/β, 6-O)M50/M94R11I1075181.29A-stat-Bdrug deliveryXiao et al. [202]
240galactose (α/β, 6-O)M51R12I4605.21.11homochiral recognitionWang et al. [203]
241galactose (α/β, 6-O)M51polySty·R12I419.61.57block ABWang et al. [203]
242galactose (α/β, 6-O)M51polyMMA·R12I420.81.41block ABWang et al. [203]
243galactose (α/β, 6-O)M51polyMA·R12I424.61.35block ABWang et al. [203]
Styrenic monomers (unprotected)
244trehaloseM104R29I4779.40.981.07homoprotein formulationMancini et al. [204]
245trehaloseM104R30I47324.50.951.2homoprotein formulationMancini et al. [204]
246trehaloseM104R30I48149.51.11.47homoprotein formulationMancini et al. [204]
Glycopolymers from post-polymerization reaction
247galactose (α/β, 6-O)M57/M59R5I4110.881.14A-stat-BglycoGNPBoyer et al. [205]
248galactose (α-N), 2-deoxy-2-amino-d-glucose (N)M68R5I42.80.841.2homolectin recognitionBoyer et al. [206]
249galactose (α-N), 2-deoxy-2-amino-d-glucose (N)M68, M121R5I470, 96900.841.18star (16-arm)Boyer et al. [207]
250galactose (β-O), glucose (β-S)M82/M83R20I493291.9branchedSemsarilar et al. [208]
251glucose (β-S)M57/M58R5I4100.911.12A-stat-BglycoGNPBoyer et al. [205]
252glucose (β-S)M58R198551.40.491.9star (4-arm)lectin recognitionChen et al. [209]
253glucose (β-S)M82R10I42515.411.8branched-Semsarilar et al. [208]
254glucose (β-S)M57R23I45.61.13homolectin recognitionKumar et al. [210]
255glucose (β-S)M59polyM57·R5I46.11.15homolectin recognitionKumar et al. [210]
256glucuronic acid (1-amino-1-deoxy alditol)M54R1I647330.981.05homoAlidedeoglu et al. [211]
257glucuronic acid (1-amino-1-deoxy alditol)M55R1I331151.31.08homoAlidedeoglu et al. [211]
258glucuronic acid (1-amino-1-deoxy alditol)M56polyM54I33348.40.851.05block ABAlidedeoglu et al. [211]
259N-acetylglucosamine (α-O)M111R34I382151.12A-stat-BbiosensorGodula et al. [212]

a[M]0/[RAFTinimer]0 = 20; b [M]0/[RAFTinimer]0 = 100; c after deprotection; d [R5]0 = 1.78 mmol L−1, 7 h; e [R5]0= 7.14 mmol L−1, 8 h; f isolated yield; g In 0.1 mol L−1 Na2CO3; h In 0.1 mol L−1 NaHCO3; i In H2O/EtOH 9:1.

In collaboration with Ravin Narain, the same group [213] investigated the photochemical synthesis of gold nanoparticles stabilized by hydrophilic polymer chains. To this end, HAuCl4 was reduced in situ by Irgacure-2959 under UV irradiation and in the presence of methoxy-PEG-SH, biotinylated glycopolymer poly(M52-stat-M53) (deprotected) and poly(NIPAAm) (both obtained by RAFT polymerization). SPR sensorgrams demonstrated that the biotin residues on the surface of the nanoparticles were still accessible for bioconjugation on a streptavidin immobilized sensor chip. In a continuation to this study, Jiang et al. [162] synthesized copolymers of NAM M53 with N-acetyl-d-glucosaminoside- or D-mannoside-derived glycomonomers M60 and M61 using both biotin-derived RAFT agent R13 and tert-butyl dithiobenzoate R16 (dioxane, 75 °C or 90 °C; Entry 151–154, Table 3). Good control over the molar mass was achieved in all cases (0.91 ≤ Mn/Mn,th≤ 1.26) but uniform polymers were only obtained with the D-mannoside-derived glycomonomer (Đ = 1.14–1.20). After Zemplén deacetylation, the deprotected glycopolymers were used for the preparation of biotinylated and non-biotinylated gold glyconanoparticles via the photochemical process previously described. The former were then immobilized onto avidin-coated chips and used for the study lectin-carbohydrate interactions (ConA for α-mannoside and WGA for N-acetyl-D-glucosaminoside).

Jiang et al. [159] reported the synthesis of carbohydrate-decorated artificial vesicles via the self-assembly of glycopolymers grafted with polyNIPAAm chains (Scheme 22). Firstly, NIPAAm (M42) was polymerized in the presence of trithiocarbonate R25 (I4, 1,4-dioxane, 70 °C) to afford a phenylboronic acid-functionalized uniform polymer (Mn = 6400 Da, Ð = 1.10). Secondly, peracetylated N-acryloyl-β-d-glucopyranosylamine M99 and N-acryloyl-β-d-galactopyranosylamine M100 were polymerized under the same conditions (Entry 140 and 150, Table 3) and in the presence of trithiocarbonate R26 to yield polyM99 (Mn = 11,900, Ð = 1.20) and polyM100 (Mn = 11,900, Ð = 1.18). After Zemplén deacetylation in DMF, poly(NIPAAm) chains were grafted to the deprotected glycopolymers via reversible boron-oxygen cyclic ester bonds formed in basic solution. Upon heating at 33 °C, the “graft-like” complex formed uniform vesicles (Rh = 62 nm-68 nm, ÐR ≅ 1.1) having a hydrophilic glycopolymer layer at the outer surface of the membrane. Finally, vesicles featuring β-galactose moieties bound to Arachis hypogaea (PNA) and Erythrina cristagalli (ECA) lectins, whereas those featuring β-glucose did not.

Wei et al. [160] described the synthesis of hyperbranched glycopolymers carrying galactose residues using RAFT inimers (Entry 141–144, Table 3). Galactose methacrylate M20 and galactose acrylamide M102 were polymerized in the presence of R27 and R28, respectively (I4, ethyl acetate, 70 °C), to afford fairly uniform hyperbranched glycopolymers (Ð < 1.5) with Mn = 1700–29,000 Da. Control over the molar mass was poor though and higher M/CTA ratios resulted in higher dispersity indices. Linear polyM102 was also prepared by using R5 as the RAFT agent under the same conditions: a uniform polymer was obtained in this case (Mn = 5700 Da, Ð = 1.14) but the control over molar mass was no better. Finally, water soluble glycopolymers were attained after deprotection of the sugar residues with TFA.

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Scheme 22. Synthesis of carbohydrate-decorated polymersomes and their lectin-induced aggregation as reported by Jiang et al. [159].

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Scheme 22. Synthesis of carbohydrate-decorated polymersomes and their lectin-induced aggregation as reported by Jiang et al. [159].
Polymers 05 00431 g022 1024

6.1.2. (Meth)acrylate Monomers

Guo et al. [187] described the polymerization of lactoside methacrylate M43 in the presence of cumyl dithiobenzoate R9 as the RAFT agent (chloroform, 70 °C, 24 h; Entry 212, Table 3). Uniform polymers were obtained (Đ = 1.09–1.34) with good control over the molar mass (Mn/Mn,th = 0.87) but a non-steady state kinetics was observed during the first 4 h of polymerization accompanied by a jump in the molar mass of the polymer (“hybrid” behavior between conventional radical and RAFT polymerization). After this initialization period, pseudo-first order kinetics was followed together with a linear increase of molar mass with conversion. Increasing the [R9]0/[I4]0 ratio resulted in slower kinetics but a better control over the molar mass. The obtained glycopolymer was then grafted onto silica particles via radical addition to immobilized methacrylate groups, and a grafting density or ~0.1 chain nm−2 was achieved. Finally, the acetate groups were removed with CH3ONa/CH3OH.

Lowe and Wang [178] studied the RAFT polymerization of galactose methacrylate M20 using dithiobenzoate-type RAFT agents R9 and R10 (DMF, 60 °C; Entry 191–192, Table 3). With cumyl dithiobenzoate R9, an induction period of 50 min. was observed at the beginning of polymerization that was followed by pseudo-first order kinetics. This kind of behavior had already been observed in the CDB-mediated polymerization of methacrylates [214] and its origin is the subject of a lively debate [215,216,217,218]. Fairly uniform polymers (Đ ≤ 1.20) with Mn up to 14,000 Da were obtained that were chain extended with 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate M44 (Entry 193, Table 3) to give double hydrophilic-hydrophilic AB diblock glycopolymers after deprotection of the sugar moieties (TFA/H2O 5:1 v/v, RT, 1 h). It is noteworthy that these deprotection conditions effectively removed isopropylidene groups without affecting the ester bonds.

Al-Bagoury et al. [177] reported the RAFT polymerization of isopropylidene protected D-glucofuranose methacrylate M13 and d-fructopyranose methacrylate M45 in mini-emulsion. Polymerizations were conducted at 70 °C in a mixture of hexadecane/H2O/SDS/NaHCO3 using three different dithiobenzoate-type RAFT agents (R9, R10 and R11; Entry 190, 201–204, Table 3). Big deviations of molar masses with respect to their theoretical values were observed in all cases and the best results were obtained using R9 (Đ ≤ 1.25, Mn/Mn,th < 2.7). A few examples of chain extension with butyl methacrylate M46 and butyl acrylate M47 were also reported.

Stenzel et al. [179] synthesized hollow nanospheres featuring d-galactose glycopolymer chains on their surface. First the efficacy of a benzyl trithiocarbonate RAFT agent in the homopolymerization of 6-O-acryloyl-d-galactose M74 was proved using R22 (α,α,α-trifluorotoluene, 70 °C, 8 h, Mn/Mn,th = 1.11, Đ = 1.15). Then an amphiphilic block copolymer was synthesized by chain extending the poly(lactide) macroRAFT agent R17 with M74 (6 h; Entry 195, Table 3). A uniform glycopolymer was obtained (Đ = 1.20) whose molar mass significantly deviated from its theoretical value (Mn/Mn,th = 0.71). After deprotection of the sugar moieties, the glycopolymer self-assembled in aqueous solution to form spherical micelles that were cross-linked at the polymer nexus by radical reaction with hexandiol diacrylate. Finally glycopolymer nanocages were obtained by aminolysis of the poly(lactide) core.

Liu et al. [180] described the synthesis of pH responsive copolymers and their self-assembly in basic solution (Entry 196–197, Table 3). First, the homopolymerization of protected glucofuranose methacrylate M13 was studied in the presence of 4-cyano-4-[(phenylcarbonothioyl)sulfanyl]pentanoic acid R1 (dioxane, 70 °C. 8 h): After an induction period of 3 h, the reaction proceeded with pseudo-first order kinetics to afford uniform polymers (Đ ≤ 1.12) with a controlled molar mass. As previously seen for similar systems, a jump in the molar mass of the polymer was observed at low conversion (“hybrid” behavior between conventional radical and RAFT polymerization). The same protocol was then applied to the synthesis of a poly(2-(diethylamino)ethyl methacrylate) macroRAFT agent (Mn = 3800 Da, Đ = 1.06) that was chain extended with protected glucofuranose methacrylate M13. In this case neither an induction period nor a molar mass jump was observed in the early stages of the reaction. Fairly uniform polyM7918-block-polyM1319–44 were obtained (Đ = 1.19–1.41) that, after deprotection with aqueous TFA, self-assembled into spherical micelles at pH > 7.5. Finally, the obtained micelles showed specific recognition towards ConA.

Pfaff et al. [196] described the synthesis of mannose- and galactose-decorated PDVB particles (d = 2.4 µm) with a high density of grafting (0.20–0.43 chains nm−2). Three different strategies were explored: (i) 6-O-methacryloyl-d-mannose M39 and isopropylidene protected galactose methacrylate M20 were grafted through the surface styrenyl moieties of PDVB particles in the presence of R1 and R9, respectively (DMF, 70 °C; polyM39Mn = 42,300; polyM20Mn = 110,000 Da, Đ = 1.14); (ii) alternatively, the radical addition of cumyl dithiobenzoate to the surface styrenyl moieties of PDVB particles was carried out first (DMF, I4, 60 °C, 2 d) and polyM20 was grafted from the surface in the presence of R9 as sacrificial chain transfer agent (Mn = 68,500 Da, Đ = 1.17); (iii) polyM20-SH was prepared by aminolysis of the corresponding RAFT polymer (Mn = 94,700 Da, Đ = 1.14) and grafted to PDVB particles via thiol-ene radical addition. Unsurprisingly, PDVB-graft-polyM39 did not show any interaction with ConA, Lens culinaris agglutinin or Pealectin-I, because of the 6-O-linked mannose units. By contrast, after deprotection with TFA/H2O, PDVB-graft-polyM20 microspheres could bind RCA120.

The same group investigated the synthesis of magnetic and fluorescent nanoparticles covered with a glycopolymer brush for biosensing and diagnostic applications (Entry 198–199, Table 3) [181]. To this end, polyM20 (Mn = 13,700 Da, Đ = 1.22) was obtained by the polymerization of M20 in the presence of R10 (DMF, 70 °C) and used as macroRAFT agent for the copolymerization of 4-(pyrenyl)butyl methacrylate M96 and M20. A fluorescent glycopolymer polyM20-block-poly(M20-stat-M96) with Mn = 14,800 Da and Đ = 1.18 was thus obtained that was deprotected in acidic conditions and subjected to aminolysis. The resulting thiol-terminated polymer was then grafted to silica-encapsulated magnetic particles via thiol-ene radical addition. Interestingly, neither the encapsulation of iron oxide in silica nor the grafting of the glycopolymer did influence the magnetic properties of the particles. The sugar-covered nanoparticles were found to be non-cytotoxic and were uptaken into the nucleus and cytoplasm of adenocarcinomic human alveolar basal epithelial cells within 24 h.

Yang et al. [219] reported the preparation of BSA-imprinted polymer beads displaying surface glycopolymer graft chains. To this end, β-lactoside methacrylate M43 was polymerized in the presence of R1 as the control agent (CHCl3, 70 °C) to afford a uniform polymer (Mn = 4070 Da, Đ = 1.07). Subsequently, the glycopolymer was used as macroCTA in the suspension copolymerization of methyl methacrylate and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate in the presence of bovine serum albumin (BSA). After deprotection of the lactose moieties, rebinding tests showed that the glycopolymer-functionalized imprinted polymer beads presented a higher selectivity than the unmodified analogues.

Shi et al. [182] prepared glycopolymer-peptide bioconjugates with anti-oxidant activity. Thus, β-glucoside methacrylate M101 was polymerized in the presence of 4-cyano-4-[(phenylcarbonothioyl) sulfanyl]pentanoic acid R1 (dioxane, 70 °C) to afford a uniform glycopolymer carrying a dithtiobenzoate group at the ω-chain end (Mn = 6300 Da, Ð = 1.10, Entry 200, Table 3). The latter was replaced with a pyridyldisulfide by concomitant aminolysis (with ethanolamine) and thiol-disulfide exchange (with 2,2′-dithiodipyridine). After Zemplén deacetylation of the glucoside residues (MeONa/MeOH/CHCl3), reduced L-glutathione (an antioxidant tripeptide) was conjugated to the glycopolymer via a thiol-disulfide exchange reaction with release of 2-mercaptopyridine in solution. Conjugation of the peptide to the glycopolymer enhanced its affinity for ConA (3-fold increase in Ka compared to the pyridyldisulfide modified glycopolymer) and conferred antioxidant properties to the adduct, thus expanding its biomedical potential.

Zhou et al. [188] described the synthesis of glycopolymer-modified with poly(L-lysine) and studied its condensation with plasmid DNA for gene therapy applications. To this end, β-lactoside methacrylate M43 was polymerized in the presence of R1 (CHCl3, 70 °C) to afford glycopolymers with various chain lengths (Mn = 5500–20,000 Da, Ð = 1.14–1.22, Entry 213, Table 3). After Zemplén deacetylation of the lactoside moieties, glycopolymer chains were grafted to poly(L-lysine) (Mw = 150–300 kDa) via the carboxylic group at their α-chain end (EDC/NHS, water). The resulting conjugate was less cytotoxic than the starting poly(L-Lysine), possibly due to reduced number of charges, and could condense plasmid DNA. Successful transfection trials were conducted with mouse embryonic fibroblast (NIH3T3) and human hepatoma (HepG2) cell lines

Luo et al. [183] synthesized thermoresponsive glycopolymer architectures by a combination of RAFT and ROP (Entry 205–207, Table 3). To this aim, glucofuranose methacrylateM13 was polymerized in the presence of R1 (1,4-dioxane, 70 °C, 7 h) and the resulting macroRAFT agent (Mn = 6400 Da, Ð = 1.21) was consecutively chain extended with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate M33 and NIPAAm M42 (DMF, 70 °C) to afford fairly uniform triblock glycopolymers (e.g., Mn = 9,300 Da, Ð = 1.27). After removal of the thiocarbonylthio end-group with AIBN (I4), the former was used to initiate the polymerization of ε-caprolactone M19 in the presence of Sn(Oct)2 (DMF/toluene, 110 °C, 48 h) to afford uniform “coil-comb-coil” polyM13-block-poly(M33-graft-M19)-block-polyM42 (e.g., Mn = 13,000 Da, Ð = 1.21). After removal of protecting groups (80% formic acid, 60 °C), the amphiphilic glycopolymer self-assembled into spherical micelles with temperature dependent size and featuring a hydrophobic poly(M33-graft-polyM19) core and a hydrophilic polyM13/polyM42 shell. The micelles bound to ConA and a longer polyNIPAAm segment resulted in a lower association constant Ka. This effect was attributed to the steric hindrance of the polyNIPAAm block in the shell.

Glassner et al. [184] reported the synthesis of block copolymers via hetero-Diels-Alder (HDA) coupling of end-of-chain diene- (cyclic or open chain) and dienophile-functionalized polymers obtained by RAFT polymerization. Hence glucofuranose acrylateM9 was polymerized in the presence of dithioester chain transfer agent R32 (toluene, 75 °C) to afford, after deprotection in formic acid 70%, a polymer with Mn = 6400 Da and Ð = 1.14 (Entry 208, Table 3). The thiocarbonyl group at the ω-chain-end was then used as dienophile in the reaction with a stoichiometric amount of cyclopentadiene-terminated PEG (water, RT, 15 min) to afford a double hydrophilic diblock glycopolymer (Mn = 13,600 Da, Ð = 1.11). Interestingly, the possibility to use open-chain dienes in HDA reactions in water at ambient temperature was also demonstrated.

The same group [185] described the decoration of poly(glycidyl methacrylate) microspheres with glycopolymer chains by HDA addition. Thus, glucofuranose acrylate M9 was polymerized using dithioester RAFT agent R23 (toluene, 75 °C) to obtain a fairly uniform polymer with Mn = 4200 Da and Ð = 1.20 (p = 25%, Entry 209, Table 3). Subsequently, the dienophilic dithioester end-group of the glycopolymer was reacted with cyclopentadiene-functionalized poly(glycidyl methacrylate) microspheres (TFA, CHCl3, 50 °C) to afford, after deprotection of the sugar residues, glycopolymer-decorated microspheres with a loading capacity of 2.63 × 1019 chains/g and 0.16 chains/nm2. These values are comparable to those obtained from other grafting “from” or “to” methods.

Dan et al. [186] described the polymerization of an amphiphilic glycomonomer and the pH-dependent self-assembly of the resulting polymer. β-Glucoside methacrylate M113a-b carrying a hydrophobic alkyl chain (C6 or C8) was polymerized in the presence of dithiobenzoate R10 (CHCl3, 65 °C; Entry 210–211, Table 3) to afford uniform polymers (Ð = 1.09–1.12) with Mn = 13,000–22,000 Da. After Zemplén deacetylation of the carbohydrate residues, the amphiphilic homoglycopolymer self-assembled in aqueous solution to give multimicellar assemblies such as spherical aggregates, fractals, and swelled micellar clusters, depending upon the solution pH. The binding efficiency of these clusters to ConA was nevertheless moderate.

6.1.3. Styrenic Monomers

The RAFT polymerization of aldehydo-glycomonomer M50 and the self-organization of the resulting polymer into micelles was the subject of a paper by Xiao et al. [201] The reaction was mediated by R11 (THF, 60 °C, 50 h; Entry 238, Table 3) and proceeded with pseudo-first order kinetics and a linear increase of molar mass with conversion. Uniform polymers were thus obtained (Đd = 0.10) whose molar mass substantially deviated from the theoretical value though (Mn/Mn,th ≅ 0.6). Deprotection of the sugar moieties (88% formic acid) afforded amphiphilic glycopolymers that, in aqueous solution, auto-assembled into micelles with diameter in the range 80–205 nm depending on the molar mass of the polymer. Protein-bioconjugated nanoparticles were then prepared by the immobilization of BSA onto the aldehyde-functionalized micelles, presumably with formation of imine bonds.

This work was later extended to the synthesis of biodegradable glycopolymers micelles loaded with Doxorubicin (an anticancer drug) [202]. To this end, M50 was copolymerized with dioxepane derivative M94 in the presence of R11 (I10, anisole, 130 °C) to afford a fairly uniform copolymer with Mn = 18,000 Da and Đ = 1.29 (Entry 239, Table 3). Deprotection of the corresponding copolymer was performed under acid conditions (90% formic acid, RT, 2 h) but the extent of any concomitant hydrolysis of ester linkages was not investigated. Doxorubicin was then conjugated to the deprotected glycopolymer (via an imine bond formed in DMSO) and micelles loaded with up to 14% w/w of drug were obtained by dialysis against water. These micelles had average hydrodynamic diameter of 125 nm, narrow size distribution (Đd < 0.2) and proved to be cytotoxic for HeLa cancer cells.

Wang et al. [203] studied the optical activity of homopolymers and block copolymers obtained from the RAFT polymerization of protected glycomonomer M51. Homopolymerizations of M51 were carried out in in the presence of R12 (toluene, 90 °C, 50 h) and showed a hybrid evolution of molar mass with conversion, with Mn reaching a plateau at ~40% conversion (Entry 240, Table 3). Here it should be noted that under the condition used all initiator was actually consumed in the first few hours of reaction. The same monomer was also polymerized using polySty, polyMMA and polyMA macro-chain transfer agents under the same conditions (Entry 241–243, Table 3). Unsurprisingly, the optical rotatory power of polyM51 in THF was found to depend on its molar mass (for homopolymers) and on the mass content of glycomonomer (for the copolymers). Also, preliminary tests suggested that polyM51 can selectively adsorb one enantiomer from a solution of racemate into which it was suspended.

6.2. RAFT Starting from Unprotected Glycomonomers/GlycoRAFT Agents

6.2.1. Diene-Like Monomers

Stenzel et al. [200] synthesized thermoresponsive glycopolymers bearing α-mannoside residues and studied their interaction with ConA. Thus, homo- and block copolymers of 4-ethenyl-1H-1,2,3-triazole derivativeM78 with NIPAAm M42 were synthesized (Entry 236–237, Table 3): The homopolymerization of M78 was mediated by R5 (H2O/MeOH = 2:1, 60 °C) and afforded a series of fairly uniform glycopolymers (Mn = 8900–51,500 Da, Đ = 1.16–1.24). One of them was then used as macroCTA for the polymerization of NIPAAm (DMAc, 60 °C) to afford a thermoresponsive glycopolymer with Mn = 32,400 Da and Đ = 1.12. Interestingly, the avidity of block copolymer micelles for ConA exceeded that for the linear glycopolymer at the same temperature.

6.2.2. (Meth)acrylamide Monomers

Stenzel et al. [169] studied the polymerization of glucosamine acrylamide M41 in aqueous medium with monofunctional trithiocarbonate R5 and with trifunctional trithiocarbonate R7 (H2O/EtOH 5:1, 60 °C). In the case of R5, increasing the amount of RAFT agent while keeping constant the amount of initiator resulted in a longer induction period (up to 3 h), a slower rate of polymerization and narrower molar mass distributions (Entry 166–167, Table 3). Furthermore, a polyM41·R5 macroRAFT agent was chain extended with NIPAAm M42 in order to obtain a thermoresponsive block copolymer (DMSO/H2O 1:1, 60 °C; Entry 168, Table 3). SEC traces indicated a non-quantitative re-initiation of the macroRAFT agent together with significant bimolecular termination above ~80% conversion. The possibility to generate 3-arm polyM41 stars from Z-designed trifunctional RAFT agent R7 was also investigated: First the macroRAFT agent was prepared by the polymerization of 2-hydroethyl acrylate with R6 (Mn = 4500 g mol−1, Đ = 1.07); the latter was then used for the polymerization of M41 under the conditions previously described (Entry 169, Table 3). Monomer consumption did not obey a first order kinetics but, contrary to what was seen with R5, no induction period was observed at the beginning of polymerization and similar reaction rates were observed for two different monomer/CTA0 ratios. Fairly uniform polymers (Đ = 1.21) and good control over molar mass (Mn/Mn,th = 1.22) were observed at low monomer conversion for a monomer/CTA0 ratio of 200, but higher conversions and/or the targeting of longer chains resulted in a marked loss of control, possibly due to increasing steric crowding around star core.

The same monomers (M41 and M42) were also used for grafting glycopolymers and thermosensitive block copolymers brushes onto silica wafers [220]. To this aim, RAFT agent R8 was immobilized on a silica surface previously modified with (3-aminopropyl)triethoxysilane (Scheme 23) and R5 was added as sacrificial CTA to better control the polymerization. The homopolymerizations of M41 (monomer0/CTA0 = 200) and NIPAAm (monomer0/CTA0 = 400) were carried out under the conditions previously described by Bernard et al. [169]. A linear increase of the brush thickness was observed with conversion and in fairly uniform polymer chains (Đ ≤ 1.25). Chain extension of Si-brush-polyM41 with NIPAAm had a similar effect on the brush layer thickness and contact angle measurement confirmed that the second block had grown between the first block and the silicon surface as depicted in Scheme 23.

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Scheme 23. Immobilization of a RAFT agent on silica wafer followed by the synthesis of a thermo-responsive glyco-block copolymer as described by Stenzel et al. [220].

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Scheme 23. Immobilization of a RAFT agent on silica wafer followed by the synthesis of a thermo-responsive glyco-block copolymer as described by Stenzel et al. [220].
Polymers 05 00431 g023 1024

Narain et al. [165] described the polymerization of unprotected methacrylamide derivatives M69 and M70 in H2O/DMF mixtures (14%–20% DMF, 70 °C) in the presence of R1 as the RAFT agent (Entry 157–158, Table 3). After an induction period of 60 min, reactions proceeded with pseudo-first order kinetics and a linear evolution of Mn with conversion. Fairly uniform glycopolymers (Ð≤ 1.2) were thus obtained which possessed monomodal molar mass distributions and a predetermined molar mass (0.82 ≤ Mn/Mn,th ≤ 0.96). MacroRAFT agents were then prepared by stopping the polymerizations at 60%–75% conversion; they were chain extended with three different monomers (M55, M71 and M72) in aqueous solution (at pH 4 in the case of M72; 70–80 °C) to afford double hydrophilic cationic block glycopolymers with 1.39 ≤ Đ ≤ 1.44 (Entry 159–161, Table 3). Toxicity studies showed that neither the glycopolymers nor the derived cationic-copolymers were cytotoxic in the concentration range 2 µmol L−1 to 6 µmol L−1. Finally, complexation of the cationic glyco-copolymers with plasmid DNA resulted in the formation of well-defined nanostructures (d = 30–35 nm).

The same group [221], successfully modified fluorescent quantum dots (QDs) with biotinylated glycopolymers via carbodiimide coupling. To this aim, a statistical copolymer of M69, M71 and biotinylated methacrylamide M73 was synthesized by RAFT polymerization mediated by R14 (water, 70 °C). QDs featuring carboxylic groups at their surface were then activated with EDC and coupled with the pendant amino groups of the glycopolymer: The resulting QDs showed excellent optical properties and colloidal stability together with an improvement in biocompatibility (i.e., lowered cytotoxicity) compared to the original QDs.

Miura et al. [164,175] synthesized sugar-decorated gold nanoparticles (GNPs) and gold substrates from thiol-terminated glycopolymers obtained by RAFT. Hence, acrylamide derivatives of α-d-mannoside M76 and 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-α-d-glucoside M77 were both homopolymerized and copolymerized with acrylamide (M75) in the presence of dithiobenzoate R18 (DMSO/H2O, 60 °C; Entry 182–183, 187, Table 3) [175]. Under these conditions a partial hydrolysis of the RAFT agent was observed that negatively affected control over the molar mass (1.2 ≤ Đ ≤ 1.5). The end-of-chain dithiobenzoate group was then reduced with NaBH4 and the resulting thiol-terminated glycopolymers were grafted to pre-formed GNPs (d = 40 nm) to yield glycoparticles of various diameters (d = 15–100 nm). The latter showed specific recognition of lectins and of selected strains of E. coli ( i.e., ORN178, an α-Man binding strain, and ORN208, a mutant strain with no α-Man binding ability).

In a separate study [164], the same chemistry was applied to the synthesis of gold substrates covered with a glycopolymer thin layer (~2.5 nm) of poly(M76-stat-AM) and poly(M77b-stat-AM) which were then used for SPR experiments (Entry 156, Table 3): A specific interaction with lectins (ConA and PNA) and Shiga toxins was observed. Furthermore, glycopolymer-substituted GNPs were shown to amplify the SPR signal observed during the detection of lectins.

GNPs functionalized with poly(M76-stat-AM) were also employed in a lateral flow assay for the detection of proteins: A test solution of ConA at 0.01 μg mL−1 was readily detectable with the glycopolymer-modified GNPs with a sugar ratio of 6% (Entry 184, Table 3) [176]. Finally, the same type of GNPs were used in an electrochemical assay for the detection of ConA [222]. Under optimal conditions, a linear relationship between a differential pulse voltammetry peak current intensity and ConA concentration was found within the range 10–10,000 ng mL−1.

The same group [174,223] investigated the synthesis and biological activity of glycosaminoglycan-mimic polymers capable of inhibiting the association of amyloid β-peptide (a process associated with Alzheimer’s disease). To this end, charged glycomonomers derived from 6-sulfo-β-d-GlcNAc (M80) and β-d-glucuronic acid (M81) were copolymerized either together or with acrylamide (M75) in the presence of R18 as the control agent (H2O/DMSO, 60 °C; Entry 178, 188–189, Table 3). Polymers with molar masses up to 100,000 Da were obtained with Đ in the range 1.3–1.7, the sole improbable exception being a poly(M80-stat-M75) copolymer with Mn = 210,000 Da and Đ = 1.0. The interaction between these glycopolymers and Aβ(1-40) peptide was investigated by AFM, Circular Dichroism and Thioflavin T fluorescence assay (for the inhibition of protein aggregation) and polymers containing M80 units were found to have the highest inhibition activity for peptide aggregate.

The one-pot synthesis of glycopolymers by ab initio RAFT emulsion polymerization was described by Stenzel et al. [170]. To this end, a RAFT colloidal stabilizer (RAFTstab) was obtained by the polymerization of 2-acrylamido-2-deoxy-d-glucosamine M41 in the presence of R21 (DMAc, 70 °C; Entry 170, Table 3). The RAFTstab was then dissolved in water at a concentration higher than its cac (>14.5 mmol L−1) and was used for the emulsion polymerization of styrene with and without a disulfide-derived crosslinker (80 °C; Entry 171–172, Table 3). TEM images showed that spherical particles were obtained with and without the added crosslinker, although more uniform particle size distributions were obtained in the first case. Also, following reduction of the disulfide bonds with DTT, cross-linked glycoparticles could be re-dissolved in DMAc. Finally, the functionalized latexes were clustered by ConA and formed aggregates with E. Coli, thus confirming the availability of carbohydrate residues.

The same group [224] investigated the surface grafting of poly(M41-stat-NIPAAm) statistical copolymers to honeycomb structured porous films via a grafting-to approach. To this end, a cross-linked film of poly(St-stat-MAnh) was reacted with a diamine and R8 was attached to the resulting amino-groups on the surface. The same film was then exposed to the copolymerization of M41 and NIPAAm in the presence of R5 as sacrificial control agent (H2O/acetone 1:1, 60 °C). As a result, thermoresponsive glycopolymer chains were grafted to the film surface and their molar mass was found to be 3 times that of the free chains in solution (for which Mn/Mn,th was close to unity). Interestingly, above LCST the surface glycopolymer could bind ConA but the same interaction was turned off below LCST.

Abdelkader et al. [172] described the synthesis of three acrylamide glycomonomers (M85, M86 and M87) and their polymerization in the presence of R5. After an induction period of one hour, the polymerization of α-d-glucoside M85 (H2O/MeOH 5:1, 70 °C) proceeded with first order kinetics to afford uniform polymers (Đ ≤ 1.13) with Mn in the range 15,600–113,000 Da (Entry 176, Table 3). Also, a polyM85·R5 macroRAFT agent was prepared in the same way and successfully chain extended with NIPAAm M42 (DMSO/H2O 1:1, 70 °C). By contrast, the polymerizations of azido-functionalized glycomonomers M86 and M87 was more complicated (Entry 185–186, Table 3): When the same conditions used for M85 were applied to 2-azido-2-deoxy-α-d-mannoside M86, a fairly uniform polymer was obtained (Đ = 1.35) that could not be chain extended though. However, conducting the polymerization at a lower temperature (30 °C, I9) lead to a uniform glycopolymer (Đ = 1.15, Mn = 56,000 Da) that could be chain extended with NIPAAm (always at 30 °C) to give a fairly uniform block copolymer (Đ = 1.18). Finally, starting with 6-azido-6-deoxy-α-d-mannoside M87 no polymerization was observed at either 30 °C or 70 °C. PolyM86 was further functionalized by Huisgen 1,3-dipolar Cycloaddition with 2-oxo-2-(prop-2-yn-1-ylamino)ethyl-α-d-glucopyranoside (Scheme 24).

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Scheme 24. Propargyl glucoside used by Abdelkader et al. [172] for the post polymerization functionalization of azido-containing glycopolymers (top) and polycationic cyclodextrin cluster used by Buckwalter et al. for the preparation of pDNA polyplexes (bottom) [225].

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Scheme 24. Propargyl glucoside used by Abdelkader et al. [172] for the post polymerization functionalization of azido-containing glycopolymers (top) and polycationic cyclodextrin cluster used by Buckwalter et al. for the preparation of pDNA polyplexes (bottom) [225].
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Smith et al. [171] reported the synthesis of positively charged diblock glycopolymers and their use in cell transfection. The rationale was that these macromolecules would form interpolyelectrolyte nanoparticle complexes (“polyplexes”) with a core of nucleic acid complexed to a poly(amine) block and a shell of hydrophilic glycopolymer chains. The latter would ensure the water solubility of the complex and provide steric stabilization against aggregation in the presence of salts and negatively charged serum proteins. Thus, 2-deoxy-2-methacrylamido-d-glucose M84 was polymerized in the presence of R24 (acetate buffer/EtOH 4:1, pH 5.2, 70 °C) and the resulting macroRAFT agent (polyM8446, Mn = 11,700 Da, Đ = 1.24) was chain extended with 2-aminoethyl methacrylamide M71 to yield uniform block glycopolymers with a varying length of the second block (Entry 173–175, Table 3). From these, stable polyplexes with plasmid DNA (pDNA) and small interfering RNA (siRNA) were prepared whose cytotoxicity and transfection efficiency was found to depend on the length of the polyM71 block: Shorter M71 blocks resulted in lower toxicity and better transfection results in the case of pDNA polyplexes, whereas the opposite was observed for siRNA delivery from siRNA polyplexes, with significant gene knockdown with a longer polyM71 block.

The use of polycationic glycopolymers as non-viral gene delivery carriers was also investigated by Ahmed and Narain [166]. To this aim they synthesized both homopolymers and statistical and block copolymers of gluconic acid derivative M70 with 2-aminoalkyl methacrylamides M55 and M71 in the presence of dithiobenzoate R1 (H2O/DMF 5:1, 70 °C; Entry 162–163, Table 3). It was found that statistical copolymers poly(M7025-stat-M5534) and poly(M7036-stat-M7140)] had the lower cytotoxicity and the higher gene expression after transfection among the polymers tested.

The same authors [167] synthesized hyperbranched glycopolymers carrying propyl-d-gluconamide and ethyl-d-lactonamide residues and examined their blood compatibility (Entry 164 and 179; Table 3). To this end, methacrylamides M70 and M105 were copolymerized with N,N′-methylenebisacrylamide M106 (the crosslinker) in the presence of dithiobenzoate R1 (DMF/water, 70 °C) to afford hyperbranched glycopolymers with molar mass in the range 19,000–38,000 Da and Ð = 1.74–2.5. The synthesized materials showed good blood compatibility as tested by blood coagulation assays, hemolysis assays, and platelet and complement activation analysis in the concentration range 0.1–5 g L−1. Nevertheless, their cytotoxicity proved to be cell- and concentration-dependent, with human dermal fibroblasts and leukemia cells remaining more viable than malignant hepatoma cells (Hep G2 cells) after exposure the glycopolymers. The aforementioned strategy was also applied to the synthesis of cationic branched copolymers of M70 and M105 with 2-aminoethyl methacrylamide M71 that were then used for DNA complexation (Entry 165, 180; Table 3) [168]. This study confirmed that in addition to the composition and molar mass of the polymers, their molecular architecture has an influence on the stability of the derived polyplexes and thus on the level of transfection. Indeed, linear glycopolymers appear to be more effective than hyperbranched ones [166].

Buckwalter et al. [225] reported a comparative study between two adamantine-terminated polymers for their ability to stabilize plasmid DNA (pDNA) polyplexes once complexed by a polycationic cyclodextrin cluster. To this end, 2-deoxy-2-methacrylamido-d-glucose M84 was polymerized in the presence of adamantyl-derivative R31 (acetate buffer, 70 °C) to afford polyM84 with Mn ≅ 13,000 Da. A complex was then formed between the adamantyl group at the α-chain end of the glycopolymer and the cyclodextrin-derived cluster in Scheme 24. Said complex was subsequently used to form polyplexes with pDNA (d = 90–110 nm) at different N/P ratios (N = number of protonatable amines on the cluster, P = phosphate groups on the DNA chain). As a result, the novel glycopolymer-based polyplexes had better colloidal stability than their AD-PEG analogues under physiological salt conditions, whereas comparable stability was observed in serum-containing medium but only at high N/P ratios. Yet, the intake of glycopolymer-polyplexes by cells depended on the cell type: It was efficient with human glioblastoma cells but poor in the case of human adenocervical carcinoma cells (HeLa).

Galectins are the most widely expressed class of lectins in all organisms, typically bind glycans containing β-galactoside residues and share primary structural homology in their carbohydrate binding domain [24]. Bertozzi et al. [163] probed the galectin-mediated ligand cross-linking directly on live cells incorporating fluorescently labeled glycopolymers in their cellular membrane. To this aim, β-lactoside acrylamide M107a and β-cellobioside acrylamide M108 were homopolymerized in the presence of a RAFT agent (R33) featuring a phospholipid-derived leaving group (DMF/H2O 1:4, 70 °C) to afford fairly uniform polymers with Mn ≅ 21,000–23,000 Da (Entry 155 and 181, Table 3). The trithiocarbonate group of the polymers was reduced with NaBH4 and the resulting thiols were conjugated to a maleimide functionalized fluorescent dye (either Alexa fluor 488 or Alexa fluor 555). The fluorescent glycopolymers were then incorporated into the cell membrane of ldlD Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cell mutant (a cell line that is deficient in galactosides) and their fluorescence lifetime and diffusion time were measured by FRET imaging and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy in the presence and in the absence of galectin-1. As a result, evidence was gathered for the galectin-1-mediated glycopolymer cross-linking on the surface of the engineered cells.

Albertin et al. [173] described the synthesis and self-assembly of a triblock glycopolymer bearing β-d-glucopyranosylamine and N-acryloylmorpholine residues. First, symmetrical trithiocarbonate R36 was used for the synthesis of a polyM53 macroRAFT agent (D2O, 60 °C, Mn = 16,800 Da, Ð = 1.04); second, the former was chain extended with N-acryloyl-β-d-glucopyranosylamine M116 (H2O, 60 °C) to afford a uniform ABA triblock glycopolymer (Mn = 26,000 Da, Ð = 1.06, Entry 177). Even though the polymer was highly hydrophilic, AFM and DLS analysis showed that a small fraction of it associated in water to give hollow structures that were fairly uniform in size (d ≅ 320 nm) and possessed a very thin wall (1.5–3 nm). By contrast, in THF/water 91:9 v/v the same polymer self-organized into spherical unilamellar polymersomes with a diameter of about 380 nm and polyNAM external layer.

6.2.3. (Meth)acrylate Monomers

The first report on the synthesis of a well-defined glycopolymer by RAFT was published by Lowe et al. in 2003 [191]. Remarkably, this was also the first example of RDRP of an unprotected glycomonomer directly in aqueous solution. 2-Methacryloxyethyl-d-glucopyranoside M34a was polymerized in the presence of R1 as the chain transfer agent and I3 as the initiator (water, 70 °C; Entry 217–218, Table 3): No induction period was observed at the beginning of the process and monomer consumption followed pseudo first order kinetics. The increase of molar mass with conversion was linear up to 40% but accelerated afterwards, and a 30% deviation from the theoretical value was attained at p = 70%. Here it should be noted that NaHCO3 was used to help the solubilization of I3 in water. A polyM34a·R1 macroCTA was then prepared by stopping the polymerization at 40% conversion and it was used for a self-blocking experiment and for chain extension with 3-sulfopropyl methacrylate M35 (Entry 219–220, Table 3). In the two cases a good agreement between experimental and theoretical molar mass was observed, but the dispersity index was somewhat high (Đ = 1.54–1.63).

The same chain transfer agent was used by Albertin et al. [194] for a comprehensive study of the RAFT polymerization of model glucoside methacrylate M36 in aqueous solution. Since the solubility of R1 and I3 in straight neutral water is low, three different protocols were tested for polymerizations at 70 °C. In the three cases the initiator and CTA were dissolved separately before being added to the monomer solution in water: In protocol 1, R1 and I3 were dissolved in Na2CO3 0.1 mol L−1 (pH ≅ 11), in protocol 2 they were dissolved in NaHCO3 0.1 mol L−1 (pH ≅ 8.3) and in protocol 3 they were dissolved in EtOH (Entry 224–226, Table 3). Substitution of a base by EtOH eliminated the hydrolysis of the RAFT agent throughout the polymerization and lead to a uniform polymer (Đ = 1.14) and a good control over molar mass (Mn/Mn,th = 0.93) event at complete conversion. The conditions found in this study were then applied to synthesis of uniform polyM36 samples of varying DP [195] and to the synthesis of double-hydrophilic block copolymers with 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate M33 (60 °C) and 2-methacryloxyethyl-d-glucopyranoside M34a (Entry 222 and 227, Table 3) [193]. The kinetics for the two chain extension experiments were first order and fairly uniform water soluble polymers (Đ = 1.20) with reasonably controlled molar masses were obtained (Mn/Mn,th ≅ 0.82). The same protocol was applied to the homopolymerization of M34 and to the synthesis of a uniform diblock glycopolymer with mannoside methacrylate M37 (Đ = 1.16; Entry 223, Table 3). The polymerization kinetics for the second step was slower than what observed for the chain extension of polyM36 with M34a: The authors attributed this difference to the higher steric hindrance around the propagating radicals of M37 compared to M34a. A detailed kinetic study of the radical polymerization of M36 mediated by R1 and initiated by I3 in D2O/DMSO-d6 was also performed [226]. In their paper, Albertin and Cameron used in situ 1H NMR spectroscopy to probe the influence of temperature, initiator and chain transfer agent concentration, molecular mass of the CTA leaving group, as well as the presence of residual oxygen on polymerization kinetics. In general, RAFT processes were slower than the corresponding conventional radical polymerizations and for a given R1/I3 ratio, a lower initial concentration of chain transfer agent resulted in lesser rate retardation. Under all tested conditions, an initial non-steady-state period was observed for RAFT polymerization whose duration was inversely proportional to the ratio between the initial amount of CTA and the flux of primary radicals. Attainment of steady-state coincided with complete consumption of the initial CTA, but when R1 was replaced by a macroCTA the time needed to reach steady state was shortened but not eliminated and its duration proved to still depend on the CTA/initiator ratio. The presence of residual oxygen induced a short induction period (~4 min) and a rate retardation of ~37% in conventional radical polymerization and resulted in a 40 min inhibition period followed by much retarded polymerization in the analogous RAFT experiment. Finally, findings of this study were applied to the synthesis of well-defined oligoM36 in high yield (DPn = 15–66; Đ = 1.05–1.12; p = 0.93–1.00).

Spain et al. [189] described the synthesis of multivalent glyco-nanoparticles based on poly(β-d-galactoside methacrylate) polyM38. First, the polymerization of M38 was carried out under the same conditions described by Albertin et al. [195] to afford a uniform polymer (Đ = 1.09) with excellent control over molar mass (Mn/Mn,th = 1.01; Entry 214, Table 3). From this, glycopolymer-stabilized gold nanoparticles (d = 11.5 nm from DLS) were synthesized by the direct reduction of HAuCl4 with NaBH4 in the presence of polyM38. These multivalent particles were capable to agglutinate PNA-coated agarose beads in solution.

The strategy described by Albertin et al. [195] was used by Stenzel et al. [197] for the polymerization of mannose methacrylate M39 (Entry 230, Table 3). Experiments with different monomer/CTA ratios but a constant initiator concentration were conducted: They all followed pseudo-first order kinetics and led to uniform polymers (Đ ≤ 1.14). As already observed by Albertin and Cameron [226], higher CTA/initiator ratios resulted in longer induction periods. Unsurprisingly, the 6-O-linked mannoside residues were unable to bind ConA.

After reporting the atom transfer radical polymerization of M23 and M25, [124] Narain et al. investigated their RAFT polymerization (DMF, H2O/DMF or H2O/MeOH, 60 °C) with the aim of synthesizing multivalent gold nanoparticles (Entry 216 and 228, Table 3) [190]. Two RAFT agents were used in this study (R14 and R15). Fairly uniform polymers were obtained (Đ = 1.19–1.48) at high conversion with Mn in the range 14,000 Da–51,500 Da. Stable multifunctional glyconanoparticles were synthesized by the in situ reduction of HAuCl4 in the presence of trithiocarbonate-containing glycopolymer and of biotinylated-polyethylene glycol thiol (bio-PEG-SH) and their aggregation in the presence of streptavidin was studied.

In their attempt to design nanoparticles for the controlled release of insulin, Cheng et al. [227] synthesized an amphiphilic glycopolymer carrying phenylboronic acid residues. To this end, lactobionic acid derivative M25 was homopolymerized in the presence of R1 (H2O/DMSO 1:1 v/v, 70 °C, 12 h). The resultin polymer was then chain extended with 3-acrylamidophenylboronic acid M95 under the same conditions (5 h) to yield the target glycopolymer, for which no molecular characterization was provided. The latter self-assembled in water to give nanoparticles with non-uniform size in the range of 50–200 nm, most probably due to inter and intra-molecular interactions of the carbohydrate moieties with phenylboronic acid residues. In fact addition of glucose resulted in the reorganization of the chains into relatively uniform nanoparticles ~160 nm in diameter. Interestingly, their size decreased with increasing glucose concentration.

Pearson et al. [192] described the synthesis of a polymeric auranofin mimic via RAFT (auronaofin is 1-thio-β-d-glucopyranosatotriethylphosphine gold-2,3,4,6-tetraacetate). To this aim, poly(M59)·R5(Mn = 18,800 Da, Mn/Mn,th = 2.9, Ð = 1.19) was chain extended with 6-O-acryloyl-1-thio-β-d-glucoside derivative M103 (DMF, 70 °C) to afford a non-uniform block glycopolymer (Mn = 15,200 Da, Mn/Mn,th = 0.94, Ð = 1.45, Entry 221, Table 3). The pyridyl disulfide group was then reduced with D,L-dithiothreitol and complexed with AuPEt3Cl to yield an amphiphilic copolymer (Mn = 28,800 Da, Ð = 1.29) that self-assembled in aqueous solution to give micelles with d = 75 nm. The latter showed lightly higher anti-proliferation activity against OVCAR-3 human ovarian carcinoma cells than deacetylated auranofin.

Song et al. [12] synthesized a series of glycopolymers capable of specifically targeting macrophages for intracellular drug delivery. To this end, three monomers based on N-acetyl-β-d-glucosamine (M31), β-d-galactoside (M38), and β-d-mannoside (M114) were copolymerized with methacrylamide derivative M115 carrying a pyridyl-disulfide group (10% molar feed) in the presence of trithiocarbonate R35 (water/ethanol 3:1, 70 °C). Uniform polymers (Ð = 1.2) with monomodal molar mass distributions and Mn up to 13,000 Da were obtained with complete monomer conversion (Entry 215, 231–232, Table 3). The specific targeting of these glycopolymers to macrophages was sugar and dose dependent: For instance in vitro studies revealed that β-d-mannoside- and N-acetyl-β-d-glucosamine containing glycopolymers specifically targeted mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages, whereas β-d-galactoside-containing glycopolymer did not. This result was confirmed by in vivo studies, which demonstrated that the uptake of the mannoside glycopolymer by alveolar macrophages was up to 6 fold higher than of the galactoside analogue.

6.2.4. Styrenic Monomers

Mancini et al. [204] conjugated a trehalose-derived glycopolymer to hen egg white lysozyme to protect it from environmental stresses. Thus, trehalose glycomonomer M104 was polymerized in the presence of pyridyl-disulfide RAFT agent R29 or R30 (DMF, 80 °C; Entry 244–246, Table 3) to afford fairly uniform polymers with Mn in the range 4200–24,500 Da. A higher molar dispersity index was instead obtained when a higher molar mass was targeted with R30 (Mn = 49,500 Da, Ð = 1.47). Glycopolymers obtained with R30 were then conjugated to thiopropionyl lysozyme and the stability of the resulting glyco-conjugates was studied: Compared to the wild-type protein, they retained a higher fraction of activity when stressed with repeated lyophilization cycles (no loss of activity after 10 cycles) and heating (81% activity retained after 1 h at 90 °C).

6.2.5. Vinyl Ester Monomers

The first example of uniform, poly(vinyl ester)-like glycopolymer was reported by Albertin et al. , in 2004 [198]. The interest in this type of materials lies in the distinctive advantages that they can offer in terms of environmental biodegradability [228] and, whenever in vivo applications are sought after, biocompatibility of the polymer backbone. In fact, hydrolytic cleavage of the pendant groups leaves a poly(vinyl alcohol) main chain, that is a material already used in a number of medical applications [229,230] and that does not seem to interact with cellular blood components [231]. Hence, 6-O-vinyladipoyl-d-glucopyranose M40 was synthesized via enzymatic catalysis and homopolymerized in the presence of either xanthate R2 (MeOH) or dithiocarbamate R3 (H2O) as the chain transfer agents (I3, 60 °C, 48 h). Fairly uniform polymers were obtained (Đ ≤ 1.19) at low monomer conversion having Mn = 17,000–20,000 Da (Entry 233–234, Table 3). A higher conversion was obtained in water. The same monomer was subsequently used for the synthesis of star glycopolymers with a grafting-from strategy by using tetra-xanthate R4 (I3, DMAc, 70 °C, 24 h; Entry 235, Table 3) [199]. In spite of the higher temperature and monomer concentration used (70 °C vs. 60 °C and 2 mol L−1 vs. 0.5 mol L−1 of the previous study), a limiting conversion of 50% was achieved after 9 h, probably because 98% of the starting initiator had been consumed by that time.

6.3. Glycopolymers from Post-Polymerization Reaction

Davis et al. [206] reported a versatile one-pot synthesis of end-of-chain biotinylated glycopolymers that is adapted to any amino-sugar (Entry 248, Table 3). Activated acrylate ester M68 was polymerized in the presence of R5 (benzene, 70 °C) to afford fairly uniform polymer precursors (Mn = 2800–16,000 Da). The polymers were then isolated and reacted with 2-deoxy-2-amino-d-galactose or 2-deoxy-2-amino-d-glucose firstly (DMF/H2O, 3 h; this reaction also cleaves the trithiocarbonate end-group) and to biotin-modified maleimide secondly [Please note that Scheme 1 in the paper by Boyer and Davis contains a mistake: It suggests the use of α-d-galactopyranosylamine when the equilibrium mixture of d-galactopyranosylamine consists almost entirely of the β form (which is what can be purchased commercially) [232]. Also, the supplementary information to the same paper indicates the use of d-galactose amine hydrochloride from Aldrich, which led us to conclude that the compound used was actually 2-deoxy-2-amino-d-galactose hydrochloride]. In accordance with previous literature, D-glucose-functionalized glycopolymers were capable of precipitating ConA, whereas their d-galactose analogues were not. The above described strategy was also adapted to the synthesis of star polymers via an arm-first approach (for an example see Entry 249, Table 3) [207]. To this end, polyM68·R5 was crosslinked with a bis-acrylamide (e.g., M121) to afford fairly uniform star polymers that were post-functionalized by nucleophilic displacement with a number of amino-compounds (2-deoxy-2-amino-d-galactose and 2-deoxy-2-amino-d-glucose, among others) or by thiol-ene reaction (e.g., with fluorescein acrylate).

The same group [205] investigated the synthesis of gold nanoparticles decorated by glycopolymers using a layer by layer approach: Two types of copolymers were synthesized starting from tert-butyl acrylate M57, chloromethylstyrene M58 and 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate M59 and by using R5 as the RAFT agent either in acetonitrile at 60 °C (for poly(M57-stat-M58)) or in toluene at 70 °C (for poly(M57-stat-M59)) for 12 h (Entry 247, 251, Table 3). The isolated polymers were then functionalized with 1-thio-β-d-glucopyranose or 1,2:3,4-di-O-isopropylidene-α-d-galactopyranose as depicted in Scheme 25 (Please note that in the original paper there are several mistakes in the representation of the carbohydrate molecules and residues. Here we have reported a corrected version), and following deprotection of the tert-butyl and isopropylidene groups with TFA, the negatively charged glycopolymers were assembled layer-by-layer with polyethylenimine onto positively charged gold nanoparticle (GNPs). Finally, the presence of accessible sugar moieties on the surface of the GNPs was confirmed by a binding assay with ConA.

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Scheme 25. Strategy reported by Boyer et al. for the post-polymerization synthesis of negatively charged glycopolymers [205].

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Scheme 25. Strategy reported by Boyer et al. for the post-polymerization synthesis of negatively charged glycopolymers [205].
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Chen et al. [209] reported the synthesis of 4-arm star styrenic glycopolymers by post-polymerization reaction (Entry 252, Table 3). First, star polymers were synthesized by the R-group approach: Chloromethylstyrene (M58) was polymerized in the presence of tetra functional RAFT agent R19 (bulk, 120 °C, self-initiation) and fairly uniform polymers were obtained up to 65% conversion (Đ < 1.35), after which the molar mass distribution was substantially broadened by the presence of linear chains. A series of star polymers was then prepared with Mn in the range 6000–51,000 Da and reacted with stoichiometric amounts of 1-thio-β-d-glucopyranose sodium salt (DMSO, 40 °C, 110 h) to afford star-shaped glycopolymers. Finally, the ability of the later to cluster ConA was tested using turbidity assays and it was found to be equivalent to that of a linear analogue.

Alidedeoglu et al. [211] synthesized well-defined glycopolymers carrying 1-amino-1-deoxy- alditol residues derived from D-glucuronic acid directly in water (Entry 256–258, Table 3). To this end, 2-aminoethyl methacrylate M54 and 2-aminopropyl methacrylamide M55 were homopolymerized in acetic buffer (pH 5) at 50 °C and 70 °C, respectively, for around an hour in the presence of RAFT agent R1; the double hydrophilic copolymer poly(M54)-block-poly(M56) was also prepared under similar conditions. Uniform polymers (Đ ≤ 1.08) with a predetermined molar mass (0.85 ≤ Mn/Mn,th ≤ 1.30) were obtained in all cases, although only moderate monomer conversions were achieved (p < 0.5). The primary amino functions of these polymers were then used for the reductive amination of D-glucuronic acid (10 eq.) in order to obtain carboxylic acid functionalized glycopolymers (Scheme 26). Higher yields of conjugation were achieved in all cases (>94%), but poly(M54) sequences probably underwent side-reactions under the alkaline conditions used.

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Scheme 26. Post-polymerization conjugation of D-glucuronic acid to water soluble polymer featuring primary amino functions as reported by Alidedeoglu et al. [211].

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Scheme 26. Post-polymerization conjugation of D-glucuronic acid to water soluble polymer featuring primary amino functions as reported by Alidedeoglu et al. [211].
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The synthesis of highly branched glycopolymers featuring β-d-galactopyranoside and 1-thio-β-d-glucopyranoside residues was reported by Semsarilar et al. [208] Hence, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate M82 was either homopolymerized or copolymerized with trimethylsilylpropyne acrylate M83 (toluene, 60 °C) in the presence of R10 and R20, respectively (Entry 250, 253, Table 3). Non-uniform polymers were obtained in all cases (Đ ≤ 1.6) with Mn in the range 55,500–182,000 Da. After deprotection of the alkyne groups with TFA, poly(M82-stat-M83) was functionalized either with 1-thio-β-d-glucopyranose via thiol-yne radical addition or with azidoethyl-β-d-galactopyranose via Cu(I)-catalyzed dipolar cicloaddition. By contrast, the homopolymer polyM83 was only functionalized with 1-thio-β-d-glucopyranose via phosphine-catalyzed Michael addition.

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Scheme 27. Synthetic strategies followed by Stenzel et al. [210] for the synthesis of amphiphilic glycopolymers.

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Scheme 27. Synthetic strategies followed by Stenzel et al. [210] for the synthesis of amphiphilic glycopolymers.
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Stenzel et al. [210] reported the synthesis of amphiphilic block copolymers carrying 1-thio-β-d-glucopyranoside residues either as pendant group in the hydrophilic block or in a dendritic arrangement (Scheme 27). In order to synthesize the dendritic structure, tert-butyl acrylate M57 was polymerized in the presence of benzyl pyridin-2-yldithioformate R23 (toluene, 65 °C) to afford a uniform polymer with Mn = 5600 Da (Entry 254, Table 3). The latter was transformed into a dendritic glycopolymer through a combination of hetero Diels-Alder cycloaddition, esterification, and thiol-yne reactions. Alternatively, M57 was polymerized in the presence of R5 to afford a uniform polymer with Mn = 5900 Da and Đ = 1.15 (Entry 255, Table 3) that was then chain extended with 4–5 units of 2-hydroxyethyl acrylate M59 in order to obtain a hydroxyl-functionalized block copolymer. The latter was transformed into an amphiphilic block glycopolymer via a combination of esterification and thiol-yne addition reactions (Scheme 27). Although both types of copolymers self-assembled in water into aggregates that could interact with ConA, the polymer glycodendron exhibited a significantly faster clustering rate when compared to the linear analogue.

Godula and Bertozzi [212] developed a microarray consisting of synthetic glycopolymers with varying density of carbohydrate residues (Scheme 28).

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Scheme 28. Fluorescent biotinylated glycopolymer designed by Godula and Bertozzi [212] for glycan microarrays.

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Scheme 28. Fluorescent biotinylated glycopolymer designed by Godula and Bertozzi [212] for glycan microarrays.
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The idea was to imitate the spatial arrangement of glycans in native mucin (a family of glycoproteins) and to study their interaction with different lectins. To this end, methyl vinyl ketone M111 was polymerized in the presence of biotin-derived RAFT agent R34 (2-butanone, 65 °C) to afford a fairly uniform polymer (Ð = 1.12, DP ≅ 205) featuring pendant carbonyl groups. Aminolysis of the trithiocarbonate group with cysteamine liberated an end-of-chain sulfhydryl that was conjugated to a maleimide-functionalized fluorescent dye (Cy3). 2-(Acetylamino)-1-O-amino-2-deoxy-α-d-glucopyranose (α-aminooxy-GalNAc) residues were then grafted to the polymer backbone in varying density via acid catalyzed oxime ligation. The resulting glycopolymers were anchored to streptavidin coated microarray substrates to generate arrays with variable glycopolymer densities. It was thus found that (i) the binding of the glycopolymer to Soybean agglutinin (SBA), Wisteria floribunda lectin (WFL), and Vicia villosa-B-4 agglutinin (VVA) was dependent on the GalNAc valency, whereas the binding to Helix pomatia agglutinin (HPA) was not; (ii) only SBA cross-linked valency glycopolymers, as indicated by the decreasing dissociation constant observed with increasing average spacing of the surface-bound ligands.

7. Conclusion and Perspectives

Well defined glycopolymers architectures have been successfully synthesized with four major reversible-deactivation radical polymerization techniques: Nitroxide-mediated radical polymerization (NMP), cyanoxyl-mediated radical polymerization (CMRP), atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) and reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT). NMP has been mostly applied to protected styrenic monomers and glycoNMP initiators in organic solvent, although Hawker et al. also succeeded in polymerizing a protected glucose acrylate using a second-generation alkoxyamine [87,233]. This is mostly the result of the historical period during which those studies were realized (1998–2002): It took several years for scientists to develop new nitroxides and alkoxyamines effective in the polymerization of monomers other than styrenics, and then reaction temperatures remained too high for some carbohydrate derivatives (>90 °C). To date, NMP has been extended to almost all monomers with the exception of vinyl esters and vinyl chloride. Also, SG1 and SG1-derived initiators (essentially BlocBuilder MA) have been applied to the polymerization of acrylamide- [234,235,236], styrenic- [234], acrylate- [234] and methacrylate-monomers [233,237], directly in homogeneous aqueous solution. Nevertheless, the use of a small fraction of comonomer (typically 8% of acrylonitrile for methacrylates, or sodium 4-styrenesulfonate for methacrylic acid) proved essential for the system to work at T < 100 °C and even then the dispersity index was systematically higher than 1.20.

In spite of these and other limitations, NMP has few advantages over other RDRP techniques: Most monomers can be polymerized with a single nitroxide [53] such as SG1 (and the derived alkoxyamine BlocBuilder MA) or TIPNO, which are now easily accessible; when an alkoxyamine is used the polymerization system requires this sole molecule as both the initiator and the control agent and the system is metal-free; in the synthesis of block copolymers, if no additional radical initiator is used, the system is free of homopolymer chains of the second block. Finally, according to the manufacturer the lethal dose 50 (LD50) of BlocBuilder MA is extremely high, at about 2000 g kg−1, and the SG1 that composes the alkoxyamine is not cytotoxic up to 0.3 mg mL−1 on different cell lines [53]; It can therefore be maintained at the polymer chain-end for most biomedical applications.

Alternatively, cyanoxyl persistent radicals have been successfully used with dienes, acrylamides and acrylates in aqueous solution at temperatures as low as 50 °C. This technique has the added advantage of producing polymers with a cyanate group at the ω-chain end that can be easily coupled to a primary amine for bioconjugation or surface functionalization. Control over the molar mass and molar mass dispersity is limited though, and high monomer conversions are virtually unattainable.

ATRP has proven a more versatile technique for the synthesis of glycopolymer architectures with poly(acrylate) and poly(methacrylate) backbone: Multi-block copolymers, graft copolymers, multi-arm stars, hyperbranched polymers as well as cylindrical brushes have been successfully prepared by ATRP. Furthermore, Armes et al. extended its applicability to unprotected monomers in aqueous or aqueous/alcoholic media [123,124,126], while Fukuda and co. successfully grafted well-defined glycopolymer brushes onto a silicon substrate [110]. In spite of this, several drawbacks to the use of ATRP in glycopolymer synthesis persist:

  • functional groups likely to deactivate the catalyst (e.g., acid functions) need to be protected during the polymerization process [238];

  • achieving a good degree of control in aqueous media is challenging due to the occurrence of several side reactions involving the catalytic system [239]. For instance, in water the CuI-based ATRP activator may disproportionate; the CuII-based deactivator is likely to lose its halide ligand; and the alkyl halide initiator may hydrolyze or react with the monomer if it contains basic or nucleophilic groups. In this case, better results are obtained by adding an organic co-solvent (e.g., methanol or DMF) and (or) a CuII halide complex to the catalyst;

  • between 1000 ppm and 10,000 ppm of copper are present in a polymer prepared by classic ATRP and its removal adds to the complexity of the process.

Concerning this last point, huge progress has been recently made thanks to a number of modified ATRP processes: In 2006, Matyjaszewski et al. [240] reported an ATRP variation called ARGET (Activators ReGenerated by Electron Transfer), in which the catalyst is continuously regenerated by non-toxic reducing agents like ascorbic acid. They also reported another variation called ICAR (Initiators for Continuous Activator Regeneration), in which radical initiators are used for the same purpose [241]. Both strategies reduce the concentration of copper catalyst needed to 10–50 ppm, i.e., several orders of magnitude lower than in conventional ATRP. The results disclosed by Rosen and Percec [242] in 2006 were even more spectacular: In their Single-Electron Transfer Living Radical Polymerization technique (SET-LRP) elemental copper activates the polymerization and is converted to a CuI intermediate in the process. A spontaneous disproportionation of the intermediate, mediated by environmentally friendly solvents such as water or alcohols, then generates the CuII deactivator. Thanks to the higher activity of Cu0 in SET-LRP (when compared to the CuI species used in classic ATRP) only tens-of-ppm of it is needed, about the same range as in ARGET and ICAR. With respect to the latter, SET-LRP offers a number of advantages though: It takes place at room temperature, side reactions are minimized, reaction times are fast, ultra-high molecular weight (>106 g mol−1) polymers can be accessed, both non-activated monomers such as vinyl chloride and activated monomers such as acrylates and methacrylates can be polymerized [243]. Finally, it is amenable to function in aqueous solution [244,245].

RAFT polymerization is a robust and versatile technique that is particularly adapted to the synthesis of glycopolymers: It can be carried out in homogeneous aqueous media, at moderate to ambient temperature, and with monomers carrying complex functional groups. Also, by carefully matching the RAFT agent to the monomer to be polymerized, the RAFT process can control the polymerization of virtually all monomers amenable to polymerize via a radical chain mechanism. Finally, the RAFT process can be easily conducted under heterogeneous conditions and lead to the preparation of surface-functionalized glyco-nanoparticles [246]. The main problem with polymers synthesized by RAFT is that they bear a thiocarbonylthio-group at their ω-end. Since the latter can degrade over time and release some malodorous and toxic sulphur compounds, it should be removed before using the material in its final application. This can be accomplished by radical-induced reduction (e.g., with non-toxic N-ethylpiperidine hypophosphite), addition-fragmentation coupling (i.e., heating the RAFT-synthesized polymer with a large excess of a radical initiator) or aminolysis/hydrolysis/ionic reduction, with the latter producing thiol-terminated chains that can be further functionalized/conjugated.

In perspective, RDRP will enable the application of well-defined glycopolymers both in vitro and in vivo. Materials covered with a suitable glycopolymer have improved biocompatibility [97,99] and, in the case of nanoparticles, can be targeted to a specific organ [10,247,248]. Examples have already emerged of glycopolymer decorated quantum dots [221], and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles which may be used for in vivo imaging and hyperthermia treatment [249]. Magnetic beads featuring glycopolymer grafts on their surface might be used for specific biocapture applications while glycosylated latex particles [122,196] could be used in protein separation and precipitation or, in the case of fluorescent nanoparticles, for cell imaging [181]. The use of glycopolymers from RDRP as free entities in vivo shall heed the lessons learned by the development of the first polymer therapeutics [250,251]: More hydrophilic polymers are less likely to bind blood proteins and to be immunogenic; with a few exceptions (copolymerization with a ketene acetal, poly(vinyl ester)s) polymers obtained by radical polymerization are non-biodegradable and molar masses ≤30,000 Da shall be targeted to ensure renal elimination; a narrow molar mass distribution is essential to establish robust structure-property relationships. Examples in this field include the use of positively charged glycopolymers for the preparation of polyplexes for cell transfection [166,171,225] and GlycoPol™, possibly the first glycopolymer synthesized by RDRP to reach commercial status. Originally based on the work of Haddleton et al. [135,143] on the post-polymerization functionalization of well-defined polymethacrylates carrying alkyne groups and, eventually, an α-chain end group suitable for conjugation, GlycoPol™ is now being developed by PolyTherics as a modular platform for targeted delivery of therapeutics. According to the company website, mono- and polysaccharides as well as fluorescent labels can be attached to the starting polymer backbone in varying density, and the resulting polymer can be conjugated to a therapeutic entity.

Symbols and Abbreviations
Aβ peptideamyloid β peptide
AFMatomic force microscopy
AGETactivator generated by electron transfer
Aiinitiator “i” used in ATRP
AIBN2,2′-azobis-isobutyronitrile
ATRPatom transfer radical polymerization
BIEM2-(2-bromoisobutyryloxy)ethyl methacrylate
BSAbovine serum albumin
caccritical association concetration
CDcircular dichroism
CMCcritical micelle concentration
CMPSFchloromethylated polysulfone
COD1,5-cyclooctadiene
ConAConcanavalin A
Convconversion
Cpcyclopentadiene
CTAchain transfer agent
Ctxcholera toxin
DCMdichloromethane
Đmolar mass dispersity index
Đdparticle diameter dispersity index
DCPdicumyl peroxide
DLSdynamic light scattering
DMAcdimethyl acetamide
DMFdimethylformamide
DMPA2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenylacetophenone
DMSOdimethyl sulfoxide
DNAdeoxyribonucleic acid
DPdegree of polymerization
DTT1,4-dithiothreitol
ECAErythrina cristagalli agglutinin
EDC1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl-carbodiimide)
EWCRDSevanescent wave cavity ring-down spectroscopy
FbFibrinogen
FCSfluorescence correlation spectroscopy
FGFFibroblast growth factor
FimHfimbrial lectin
FRETFörster resonance energy transfer
FTIRFourier transform infrared
Galgalactose
Glcglucose
GlcNAcN-acetyl-d-glucosamine
GNP(s)gold nanoparticle(s)
HDAhetero-Diels Alder
HEMA2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate
HIVhuman immunodeficiency virus
HOBT1-hydroxybenzotrizole
homohomopolymer
HPAHelix pomatia agglutinin
IC50the half maximal inhibitory concentration, i.e., the concentration of a particular substance (inhibitor) needed to inhibit a given biological process by half
Laclactose
LBLlayer by layer
LCSTlower critical solution temperature
Liligand “i” used in ATRP catalyst
MAmethyl acrylate
MALDI-ToFmatrix-assisted laser desorbtion ionization-time of flight
Manmannose
MAnhmaleic anhydride
MHSMark-Houwink-Sakurada
Mimonomer “i”
MMAmethyl methacrylate
Mnnumber average molar mass
Mn,ththeoretical number average molar mass
MSmass spectroscopy
Mwweight average molar mass
MWNTmultiwalled carbon nanotube
NHSN-hydroxysuccinimide
Niinitiator/control agent “i” used in NMP
NIPAAmN-isopropylacrylamide
NMPnitroxide mediated polymerization
NMRnuclear magnetic resonance
pmonomer conversion
PDVBpoly(divinylbenzene)
PEGpolyethylene glycol
PEOpolyethylene oxide
PETpoly(ethyleneterephtalate)
PMMApoly(methylmethacrylate)
polyMipoly(monomer i)
polyMi·Ni(Ri)macro-initiator/macro-control agent poly(monomer i) obtained from the polymerization of monomer “i” with initiator Ni or RAFT agent Ri
PNApeanut agglutinin
PSFpolysulfone
p-TsClp-toluenesulfonyl chloride (Tosyl chloride)
PVDFpoly(vinylidene difluoride)
QCMquartz crystal microbalance
QDquatum dots
RAFTreversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer
RAFTstabreversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer colloidal stabilizer
RCARicinus communis agglutinin
RDRPreversible deactivation radical polymerization
Richain transfer agent “i” used in RAFT polymerization
RNAribonucleic acid
ROMPring Opening Metathesis Polymerization
ROPring Opening Polymerization
RTroom temperature
SBAsoybean agglutinin
SCVCPself-condensing vinyl copolymerization
SECsize exclusion chromatography
SEMscanning Electron Microscopy
SG1N-tert-butyl-N-(1-diethylphosphono-2,2-dimethylpropyl)
siRNAsmall interfering RNA
SLSstatic light scattering
SPRsurface plasmon resonance
Stystyrene
TBAFtetra-n-butylammonium fluoride
TEMtransmission electron microscopy
TEMPO2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl
TFAtrifluoroacetic acid
THFtetrahydrofuran
ThTthioflavin T
TIPNO2,2,5-trimethyl-4-phenyl-3-azahexane-3-oxyl
TsClp-toluenesulfonyl chloride
VVAVicia villosa agglutinin
WFLWisteria floribunda lectin
WGAwheat germ agglutinin

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