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Synthesis and Biological Activity of Anticoagulant Heparan Sulfate Glycopolymers


Oh, Young In (2013) Synthesis and Biological Activity of Anticoagulant Heparan Sulfate Glycopolymers. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/E16S-6T52.


Heparin has been used as an anticoagulant drug for more than 70 years. The global distribution of contaminated heparin in 2007, which resulted in adverse clinical effects and over 100 deaths, emphasizes the necessity for safer alternatives to animal-sourced heparin. The structural complexity and heterogeneity of animal-sourced heparin not only impedes safe access to these biologically active molecules, but also hinders investigations on the significance of structural constituents at a molecular level. Efficient methods for preparing new synthetic heparins with targeted biological activity are necessary not only to ensure clinical safety, but to optimize derivative design to minimize potential side effects. Low molecular weight heparins have become a reliable alternative to heparin, due to their predictable dosages, long half-lives, and reduced side effects. However, heparin oligosaccharide synthesis is a challenging endeavor due to the necessity for complex protecting group manipulation and stereoselective glycosidic linkage chemistry, which often result in lengthy synthetic routes and low yields. Recently, chemoenzymatic syntheses have produced targeted ultralow molecular weight heparins with high-efficiency, but continue to be restricted by the substrate specificities of enzymes.

To address the need for access to homogeneous, complex glycosaminoglycan structures, we have synthesized novel heparan sulfate glycopolymers with well-defined carbohydrate structures and tunable chain length through ring-opening metathesis polymerization chemistry. These polymers recapitulate the key features of anticoagulant heparan sulfate by displaying the sulfation pattern responsible for heparin’s anticoagulant activity. The use of polymerization chemistry greatly simplifies the synthesis of complex glycosaminoglycan structures, providing a facile method to generate homogeneous macromolecules with tunable biological and chemical properties. Through the use of in vitro chromogenic substrate assays and ex vivo clotting assays, we found that the HS glycopolymers exhibited anticoagulant activity in a sulfation pattern and length-dependent manner. Compared to heparin standards, our short polymers did not display any activity. However, our longer polymers were able to incorporate in vitro and ex vivo characteristics of both low-molecular-weight heparin derivatives and heparin, displaying hybrid anticoagulant properties. These studies emphasize the significance of sulfation pattern specificity in specific carbohydrate-protein interactions, and demonstrate the effectiveness of multivalent molecules in recapitulating the activity of natural polysaccharides.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Heparan Sulfate, Glycopolymers, Anticoagulants
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hsieh-Wilson, Linda C.
Thesis Committee:
  • Dervan, Peter B. (chair)
  • Gray, Harry B.
  • Clemons, William M.
  • Hsieh-Wilson, Linda C.
Defense Date:16 May 2013
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Howard Hughes Medical InstituteCRHHMI.LHW-1-OACR.HHMI 0010
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06022013-204012683
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7818
Deposited By: Young In Oh
Deposited On:22 Sep 2015 20:35
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 00:01

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