Nanometric glycoclusters designed to fighting bacterial pathogens
Many natural processes take advantage of the multimeric presentation of biological entities to enhance the efficiency of binding events. Because of its critical role in major biological phenomena, multivalency has received much attention in biomedicine in the last few years. This is particularly true for carbohydrate-protein interactions, which are notoriously weak at the monomer level, but can be dramatically strengthened if the ligand is presented in a multivalent manner (supramolecular glycoside cluster effect).
Inspired by these natural phenomena, scientists have dedicated tremendous effort both to understand the underlying mechanisms of multivalency and to create artificial multivalent systems for diverse applications, such as the inhibition of the adhesion of pathogenic bacteria to their host tissues to prevent infections. Another emerging field of application is the multivalent inhibition of biologically relevant bacterial enzymes.