Carbohydrate-coated supramolecular structures: transformation of nanofibers into spherical micelles triggered by guest encapsulation

J Am Chem Soc. 2007 Apr 18;129(15):4808-14. doi: 10.1021/ja070173p. Epub 2007 Mar 24.


Triblock rigid-flexible dendritic block molecules consisting of a rigid aromatic segment as a stem segment, carbohydrate-branched dendrons as a flexible head, and a hydrophobic alkyl chain were synthesized and characterized. The carbohydrate conjugate molecule based on a methyl group as a hydrophobic tail, in the solid state, self-assembles into a 1D nanostructure, whereas the molecule based on a longer hydrophobic tail self-assembles into 2D nanosheets, as confirmed by X-ray scatterings. In aqueous solution, however, both molecules were observed to self-assemble into carbohydrate-coated cylindrical aggregates with a uniform diameter, as confirmed by dynamic light scatterings and transmission electron microscopic (TEM) investigations. Notably, these cylindrical objects reversibly transformed into spherical objects on addition of guest molecules. Investigation of the interactions of the carbohydrate-coated nanostructures with E. coli cells showed that both nano-objects could immobilize bacterial cells, while the degrees of immobilization were significantly dependent on the shape of nanostructure. These results demonstrated that the supramolecular materials that are responsive to external stimuli can provide novel opportunities to control many biological activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrates / chemistry*
  • Escherichia coli / chemistry
  • Ligands
  • Micelles*
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure
  • Solutions
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Transformation, Bacterial
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Carbohydrates
  • Ligands
  • Micelles
  • Solutions