Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sugar synthesis hits the sweet spot

09.05.2011
Novel tuberculosis treatments could result from success in artificially synthesizing sugar-based structures of the bacterium’s cell wall

A new strategy for synthesizing the kind of complex molecules that certain bacteria use to build their protective cell walls has been developed by Akihiro Ishiwata and Yukishige Ito from the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Wako[1]. The strategy applies to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), so it could lead to much-needed new medicines to combat the spread of multi-drug-resistant strains of the pathogen.

Disrupting the formation of the cell wall of M. tuberculosis is already a proven strategy for treating TB, with several of the current front-line drugs working in this way. However, the cell wall skeleton is a complex, highly branched structure, and its biosynthesis is not yet fully understood.

According to Ito, the compound he and Ishiwata made—a sugar-based structure known as the arabinan motif (Araf22) — should be a useful biological probe, helping to unravel cell wall biosynthesis. Perhaps more importantly, however, the success of their strategy suggests that larger, more complex cell wall components could be made in the same way.

Sugar-based compounds are notoriously difficult to make. Sugars are bristling with reactive alcohol groups, so molecules made from more than 20 sugar units pose a significant synthetic challenge. Nevertheless, Ishiwata and Ito succeeded in clipping together the branching chain of 22 sugar units needed to make Araf22.

Their strategy involved synthesizing small sub-structures of the mycobacterial cell wall skeleton and building from there. To make the compound, they conceptually broke down Araf22’s structure into several simpler fragments, chemically synthesized those fragments, and then clipped them together to make Araf22. This aspect of the strategy has been applied before, but Ishiwata and Ito built the fragments such that they clipped together at linear rather than branching points in their structure.

The researchers’ strategy makes the individual fragments more difficult to build, but it makes the coupling process much more efficient. Crucially, that means the strategy should work just as well as a way to make even larger and more complex components of the cell wall.

“One of the main points of this work is for us to show the way to construct the more complex compounds,” says Ishiwata. “We are now planning to synthesize more complex but structurally reliable glycans of cell wall skeletons for biological studies.” However, such compounds could even prove to be useful drugs in themselves, if they are able to disrupt the cellular machinery responsible for mycobacterial cell wall biosynthesis.

The corresponding author for this highlight is based at the Synthetic Cellular Chemistry Laboratory, RIKEN Advanced Science Institute

Journal information

[1] Ishiwata A. & Ito Y. Synthesis of docosasaccharide arabinan motif of mycobacterial cell wall. Journal of the American Chemical Society 133, 2275–2291 (2011).

gro-pr | Research asia research news

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>