Carbohydrates can confer metal complexes with many properties, including well-defined stereochemistry, water-solubility and targeted interactions with biomolecules, such as carbohydrate-binding proteins. Carbohydrate–protein interactions are often key to the pathology of bacterial infections. Use of carbohydrate-derived molecules in inorganic complexes allows some of these properties to be exploited in different ways. This presentation gives an overview of the uses carbohydrates have been put to in our research, aiming to benefit from their potential catalytic, therapeutic and diagnostic behaviour.
Firstly, incorporating carbohydrate functionality into 1,2,3-triazolylidene N-heterocylic carbene scaffolds was investigated as a strategy to endow catalytically active organometallic complexes with some of the properties of carbohydrates. Only a handful of carbohydrate–NHC transition metal complexes have been investigated,[3a] although such decoration of phosphine and phosphinite ligands has been a promising avenue of research for asymmetric catalysis.[3b] These complexes were competent as catalysts for transfer hydrogenation (Ru) and direct hydrogenation (Ir), the latter with modest enantiomeric excesses obtained from these chiral catalysts. Secondly, Ru(II) was used as a template for a series of bis(triazolyl)pyridine glycoclusters, presenting four carbohydrate units in a three-dimensional way. The ability of these complexes to inhibit biofilm formation by Pseudomonas aeruginosa was assessed. We have also designed novel luminescent lanthanide-centred glycoclusters, developed with the aim of detecting lectins associated with pathogenic bacteria such as P. aeruginosa.
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 J. P. Byrne, P. Musembi, M. Albrecht, Dalton Trans., 2019, 48, 11838
 a) Zhao et al., Coord. Chem. Rev., 2017, 339, 1; b) Woodward et al., Coord. Chem. Rev.,
2010, 254, 2007.
 a) A. M. Boukerb et al., J. Med. Chem., 2014, 57, 10275; b) C. O’Reilly, B. Parekh, S. Blasco, G. Cooke, T. Gunnlaugsson, J. P. Byrne, manuscript under preparation