Glycodendrimers fascinate both carbohydrate chemists and biologists because of their ability to recognize lectins and enhance carbohydrate–protein interactions. These characteristics make glycodendrimers a valuable tool in glycoscience and chemical biology. Many glycodendrimers have been described to date; this tutorial review focuses specifically on carbosilane glycodendrimers. We present methodologies for synthesizing parent carbosilane dendrimers and describe their use in biological assays. We also describe representative functionalizations of parent carbosilane dendrimers at terminal positions which are necessary for chemical ligation with carbohydrate ligands. This is followed by a description of all coupling reactions between carbohydrate and carbosilane dendrimer functionalities used in the synthesis of carbosilane glycodendrimers. The major emphasis of this review is the use of carbosilane glycodendrimers as medical agents against Shiga toxins, dengue viruses, relapsing fever Borrelia, and hemagglutinin and neuraminidase of influenza viruses, as well as on the relationship between dendrimer structure and these biological activities. The last two sections introduce recent attempts to use carbosilane glycodendrimers as new versatile and widely-applicable lectin sensors, and the use of carbosilane glycodendrimers as a novel drug carrier in an active targeting drug delivery system. This review article will be of interest to scientists in the areas of organic chemistry, chemical biology, carbohydrate chemistry, heteroatom chemistry, and organosilicon chemistry.
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