Amylose dimerization in solution can be studied using a model system

Charlotte Nybro Dansholm, Sebastian Meier, Sophie R. Beeren*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Amylose, the linear polymer of α-1,4-linked glucopyranose units, is known to crystallize as a parallel double helix, but evidence of this duplex forming in solution has remained elusive for decades. We show how the dimerization of short amylose chains can be detected in solution using NMR spectroscopy when the glucans are labelled at the reducing-end with a small aromatic moiety that overcomes chemical shift degeneracy leading to distinct signals for the single-stranded and duplex amylose. A set of α-1,4 glucans with varying lengths of 6, 12, 18, and 22 glucose units and a 4-aminobenzamide label were synthesized, enabling the first systematic thermodynamic study of the association of amylose in solution. The dimerization is enthalpically driven, entropically unfavorable and beyond a minimum length of 12, each additional pair of glucose residues stabilizes the duplex by 0.85 kJ mol-1. This fundamental knowledge provides a basis for a quantitative understanding of starch structure, gelation and enzymatic digestion, and lays the foundations for the strategic use of α-1,4-glucans in the development of self-assembled materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202300832
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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