Multivalent Cluster Nanomolecules for Inhibiting Protein-Protein Interactions

23 July 2019, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Multivalent protein-protein interactions serve central roles in many essential biological processes, ranging from cell signaling and adhesion to pathogen recognition. Uncovering the rules that govern these intricate interactions is important not only to basic biology and chemistry, but also to the applied sciences where researchers are interested in developing molecules to promote or inhibit these interactions. Here we report the synthesis and application of atomically precise inorganic cluster nanomolecules consisting of an inorganic core and a covalently linked densely packed layer of saccharides. These hybrid agents are stable under biologically relevant conditions and exhibit multivalent binding capabilities, which enable us to study the complex interactions between glycosylated structures and a dendritic cell lectin receptor. Importantly, we find that subtle changes in the molecular structure lead to significant differences in the nanomolecule’s protein binding properties. Furthermore, we demonstrate an example of using these hybrid nanomolecules to effectively inhibit protein-protein interactions in a human cell line. Ultimately, this work reveals an intricate interplay between the structural design of multivalent agents and their biological activities toward protein surfaces.


multivalent glycoconjugates
boron cluster
protein-protein interactions
atomically precise nanoparticles


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