Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces - Department of Biomolecular Systems
MPIKG Potsdam, Germany
Carbohydrates play crucial roles in the life cycle of plants, both as structural components and as important players in signaling events and energy provision. As a food source, plant carbohydrates can provide beneficial effects on the human immune system, but constitute also abundant immune determinants on allergens. Despite the strong impact of plant carbohydrates on human health, their chemical synthesis remains largely unexplored compared to the synthesis of mammalian and bacterial glycans.
In our Emmy-Noether research group, we explore automated glycan assembly and chemo-enzymatic methods for the generation of plant carbohydrate libraries as a powerful means for investigating their application in plant biology and biomedical research. The synthesized plant carbohydrates are applied in the characterization of monoclonal antibodies derived from cell wall polysaccharides and cell wall glycan-deconstructing enzymes. In addition, the polysaccharide fragments are evaluated for their immunostimulatory potential. Together, the synthetic plant carbohydrates will provide a new toolbox for studying the role of carbohydrates in plant biology and their interaction with human health.