Single-chain conformation of carboxylated schizophyllan, a triple helical polysaccharide, in dilute alkaline aqueous solution
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Synchrotron-radiation small-angle X-ray scattering measurements were carried out for a schizophyllan (SPG) sample with the weight-average molar mass Mw of 340 kg mol−1 and five carboxylated SPG (sclerox) samples with different degrees of substitution (DS) ranging from 0.18 to 0.45 in 200 mM aqueous NaOH including 10 mM NaCl to determine Mw, the second virial coefficient A2, the particle scattering function P(q), and the radius of gyration ⟨S2⟩. Positive A2 values indicated that this alkaline solvent was a good solvent for all polysaccharide samples investigated. The resultant Mw values (~100 kg mol−1) were much smaller than that for the trimer in aqueous NaCl at neutral pH, indicating all SPG and sclerox samples dissolved as single chains in the alkaline solvent. Both P(q) and ⟨S2⟩ were consistently explained by the wormlike chain model. The obtained parameters were almost independent of DS. While the chain stiffness (12–18 nm) in terms of the Kuhn segment length or twice the persistence length was similar to those for the other single chain polysaccharides, the helix pitch per residue (0.1 nm) was quite smaller than the trimer state (0.3 nm). This shrunken main-chain helical structure is most likely due to hydrophobic interactions between helical main chain and side groups.