Terminology and the naming of conjugates based on polymers or other substrates

Corresponding Author: Michel Vert

A number of human activities require that certain complex molecules, referred to as active species (drugs, dyes, peptides, proteins, genes, radioactive labels, etc.), be combined with substrates, often a macromolecule, to form temporary or permanent conjugates. The existing IUPAC organic, polymer, and inorganic nomenclature principles can be applied to name such conjugates but it is not always appropriate. These nomenclatures have two major shortcomings: 1) the resulting names are often excessively long and 2) identification of the components (substrate, active species, and link) can be difficult. The new IUPAC naming system elaborates rules for unambiguous and facile naming of any conjugate. This naming system is not intended to replace the existing nomenclature but to provide a suitable alternative when dictated by necessity. Although the rules are intended to be primarily applicable to the naming of polymer conjugates, they are also applicable to naming conjugates with other substrates, which include micelles, particles, minerals, surfaces, pores, etc. The naming system should be used when recognition of the substrate and active substance is essential and will also be useful when constraints of name length make the otherwise preferred IUPAC nomenclatures untenable. The proposed rules for the new naming system are complemented by a glossary of relevant terms.

Keywords: Active species; biologically active conjugate; carrier; conjugate; conjugation; drug delivery; pharmacologically active conjugate; protein-based conjugate; substrate; support

Public review ended 30 November 2021

IUPAC Recommendations published in PAC AOP 17 March 2022

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