Essentials of Glycobiology - NCBI Bookshelf
Carbohydrates (such as sugars, glycans and polysachharides) provide the largest biomass on Earth and are central to many aspects of biotechnology. As such glycoscience and glycobiotechnology have broad applications in the development of biofuels, biomaterials and food stuffs from recycled and readily available biomass, as well as in medical research. Through investigation of the chemistry, structure and interactions associated with various carbohydrate molecules, it is possible to understand mechanisms of disease, develop novel glyco-based therapeutics and replicate the natural biosynthesis of glycans for synthetic purposes. However, the complex and diverse molecular nature of carbohydrates means that there is an urgent need to develop robust, wide-ranging synthetic and analytical methodologies for general use in this area.
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(i) glycoarrays to study glycoenzyme activity and discover carbohydrate-protein interactions
(ii) ion mobility mass spectrometry for high resolution structural analysis of carbohydrates
(iii) mass spectrometry for the label free identification of carbohydrate-binding proteins
(iv) chemoenzymatic synthesis of glycoconjugates (glycopeptides, glycolipids, etc.)
Through the use of modern molecular biology techniques, it is possible to transfer individual enzymes from their host organism and produce them in more amenable laboratory strain bacteria. This allows them to be more easily studied, engineered and integrated into new enzyme cascades, both in whole cell systems and as cell-free formulations. In the Flitsch group we are interested in the tailoring of various enzymes to perform specific, synthetically-useful reactions and incorporating these into bespoke pathways for the production of industrially- and biomedically-relevant compounds. Examples of target products of particular interest include high value chiral amines as pharmaceutical / fine chemical precursors and glycoconjugates as chemical biology probes for glycobiotechnology.