Carbohydrate nanotechnology: Hierarchical assembly using nature's other information carrying biopolymers

Xu Han, Yeting Zheng, Catherine J. Munro, Yiwen Ji, Adam B. Braunschweig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Despite their central role in directing some of the most complex biological processes, carbohydrates. - nature's other information carrying biopolymer. - have been largely ignored as building blocks for synthetic hierarchical assemblies. The non-stoichiometric binding and astronomical diversity characteristic of carbohydrates could lead to tantalizingly complex assembly algorithms, but these attributes simultaneously increase the difficulty of preparing carbohydrate assemblies and anticipating their behavior. Convergences in biotechnology, nanotechnology, polymer chemistry, surface science, and supramolecular chemistry have led to many recent important breakthroughs in glycan microarrays and synthetic carbohydrate receptors, where the idiosyncrasies of carbohydrate structure and binding are increasingly considered. We hope to inspire more researchers to consider carbohydrate structure, diversity, and binding as attractive tools for constructing synthetic hierarchical assemblies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Biotechnology
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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