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Nature uses the principles of encapsulation and supramolecular chemistry to bind and orientate substrates within active catalytic sites. Over the years, synthetic chemistry has generated a number of small molecule active site mimics capable of catalysing reactions involving bound substrates. Another approach uses larger molecules that better represent an enzymes globular structure. These molecules mimic an enzymes structure by incorporating binding/catalytic sites within the globular structure of the polymer. As such, the electronic and steric properties around the binding/catalytic site(s) can be controlled and fine-tuned. One class of polymer that is particularly adept at mimicking the globular structure of enzymes are dendritic polymers. This review will concentrate on the use of hyperbranched polymers as synthetic enzyme mimics.
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