We synthesized a semiartificial β-1,3-glucan, curdlan with dialkylaniline groups (CUR-DA), that bears chromophoric aromatic groups at its peripheral positions. Spectroscopic studies as well as microscopic observations indicate that CUR-DA adopts a triple-stranded helical structure in water- or methanol-rich solutions of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). This triple-stranded helical structure exhibits high thermal stability and resistance to base, attributes that are similar to those of the triple-stranded helical structure of native β-1,3-glucans such as schizophyllan. Moreover, we found that the stability of the triple-stranded helical structure can be easily modulated by solvent composition and metal-ion (Zn2+) binding. As β-1,3-ghican polysaccharides are known to serve as "polymeric" hosts, including certain DNA molecules, carbon nanotubes, and conjugated polymers, and complexation occurs only with the single-stranded structure, this information is very useful for the creation of these attractive polymeric composites, the controlled release of DNA, and so on.
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