Beta-1,3-glucan polysaccharides as novel one-dimensional hosts for DNA/RNA, conjugated polymers and nanoparticles

Chem Commun (Camb). 2005 Sep 21:(35):4383-98. doi: 10.1039/b506673p. Epub 2005 Aug 5.


Beta-1,3-glucan polysaccharides have triple-stranded helical structures whose sense and pitch are comparable to those of polynucleotides. We recently revealed that the beta-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 beta-1,3-glucans has made it possible to utilize these polysaccharides as potential carriers for various functional polynucleotides. In particular, 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 beta-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 beta-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 photo-polymerized to afford the corresponding poly(diacetylene)-nanofibers with a uniform diameter. These findings indicate that the beta-1,3-glucans are very attractive and useful materials not only in biotechnology but also in nanotechnology. These unique properties of the beta-1,3-glucans undoubtedly originate from their inherent, very strong helix-forming character which has never been observed for other polysaccharides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biotechnology
  • Circular Dichroism
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • RNA / chemistry*
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • beta-Glucans / chemistry*


  • Polysaccharides
  • beta-Glucans
  • RNA
  • DNA
  • beta-1,3-glucan