Synthesis of Novel Glycans
Synthesis of Novel Glycans Project
Glycans, or complex sugar structures, on human intestinal cell surfaces are important recognition sites for pathogenic bacteria that initiate infection. Free milk oligosaccharides, as well as glycans that are part of glycolipids, have been shown to inhibit pathogenic bacterial binding to the human intestinal surface and to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. However, the individual functions of specific oligosaccharide structures remain unresolved because milk is a complex mixture of these compounds. This research project takes advantage of a novel enzymatic approach that uses the activity of a variety of selected glycosyltransferases and a one-pot multiple-enzyme approach for the large-scale synthesis of specific oligosaccharide structures as pure compounds. In this multidisciplinary project the synthesized compounds are used to test their influence on bacterial growth, gene expression, and binding and inhibition studies using selected pathogens, commensal, and probiotic bacteria.