β-1,3-Glucan polysaccharides have triple-stranded helical structures whose sense and pitch are comparable to those of polynucleotides. We recently revealed that the β-1,3-glucans could interact with certain polynucleotides to form triple-stranded and helical macromolecular complexes consisting of two polysaccharide-strands and one polynucleotide-strand. This unique property of the β-1,3-glucans has made it possible to utilize these polysaccharides as potential carriers for various functional polynucleotides. In paticular, cell-uptake efficiency of the resultant polysaccharide/polynucleotide complexes was remarkably enhanced when functional groups recognized in a biological system were introduced as pendent groups. The β-1,3-glucans can also interact with various one-dimensional architectures, such as single-walled carbon nanotubes, to produce unique nanocomposites, in which the single-walled carbon nanotubes are entrapped within the helical superstructure of β-1,3-glucans. Various conductive polymers and gold nanoparticles are also entrapped within the helical superstructure in a similar manner. In addition, diacetylene monomers entrapped within the helical superstructure can be photopolymerized to afford the corresponding poly(diacetylene)-nanofibers with a uniform diameter. These findings indicate that the β-1,3-glucans are very attractive and useful materials not only in biotechnology but also in nanotechnology. These unique properties of the β-1,3-glucans undoubtedly originate from their inherent, very strong helix-forming character which has never been observed for other polysaccharides.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Ceramics and Composites
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Metals and Alloys
- Materials Chemistry