Supramolecular nucleobase-functionalized polymers: synthesis and potential biological applications
Nucleobase-functionalized covalent polymers are attracting great attention owing to their versatile structures, accessible architectures and robust properties. Although these materials are still inferior compared with DNA-based materials, they have demonstrated tremendous potential for more sophisticated applications in the biomedical field. In this review, we focus on recent advances concerning these materials. First, diverse synthetic strategies of nucleobase-functionalized polymers are introduced and summarized, emphasizing the accessible degree of polymerization and species of nucleobase functionalities. Template polymerization is highlighted as a novel and unique method for the synthesis of nucleobase-containing polymers. Various applications, such as drug and gene delivery carriers, supramolecular hydrogels and adhesives, and self-healing materials, are discussed. This review concludes with issues and challenges that are faced by this class of materials, in the hope of promoting further development of nucleobase-functionalized polymers for broader applications.