Title: The gel-forming mucins protecting our intestinal and respiratory tracts are densely glycosylated polymeric proteins
Gunnar C. Hansson, M.D., Ph.D. is a Professor in University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He has been working on mucus, mucins, and mucin glycans his whole career, focusing on the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. He has been part of and at the leading edge of developing molecular understanding of mucins over the last 30 years with a focus on their biosynthesis and structure. He and his team discovered that an attached colon mucus layer impenetrable to bacteria separates commensal bacteria from the host and that the chronically diseased lungs are covered with a similar type of mucus. They have studied and discovered that goblet cells making the mucus are more specialized and diverse than previously appreciated. The studied structural variability of glycans on the mucins and their mucin domains are important for commensal bacteria selection and bacterial utilization as a nutritional source. He has founded the Mucin Biology Groups constellation with a total of seven PIs working in the area at the University of Gothenburg (www.medkem.gu.se/mucinbiology).
Title: C-Mannosylation of Proteins: Specificity and Function
Dr. Hans Bakker is a glycobiologist with expertise in glycosyltransferases. He received his Ph.D. at the VU Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and worked in Zurich, Switzerland, and Wageningen, the Netherlands, afterwards. Since 2001, he has worked at Hannover Medical School in Germany. Over the years, he has identified several new genes encoding glycosyltransferases, including the xylosyltransferases responsible for the glycosylation of Notch EGF repeats and, more recently, the first C-mannosyltransferase, the enzyme responsible for unique glycosylation of tryptophans in proteins. His laboratory has established several specific methods to characterize C-mannosyltransferases and their target proteins from Caenorhabditis elegans and mammals in vitro and cellular systems. After cloning the C-mannosyltransferase in 2013, he could establish that C-mannosylation assists in protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum and is important for the temperature stability of proteins. Whereas C. elegans has one C- mannosyltransferase, four homologs are present in mammals. His group could show that different mammalian C-mannosyltransferases have distinct fine specificity.
The research activity of Professor De Castro is in carbohydrate structural chemistry, and her training in this subject started during her bachelor thesis, which focused on plant polysaccharides. Since then, even though Professor De Castro continued her work on carbohydrate structural chemistry, she shifted her interests and dedicated her activity to the analysis of the bacterial membrane carbohydrate components, paying attention, but not limiting the work, to Gram-negative bacteria and lipopolysaccharides (LPSs). This work has resulted in the development of state-of-the-art chemical and spectroscopical approaches that have been later applied with success to different kinds of carbohydrates, such as those from the bacteria of the gut microbiota or those from the giant viruses. This last topic is Professor De Castro's major field of research.
Professor De Castro is the author/co-author of about 130 peer-reviewed publications, an associated Editor for the journal Carbohydrate Polymers, and a member of the editorial board of Carbohydrate Research, Glycobiology, and Polysaccharides. She fruitfully collaborates with different research institutions, such as the Department of Plant Pathology (University of Nebraska Lincoln, NE, USA) and the Structural and Genomics Information Laboratory in Marseille (France).
Title: Novel Functions of Polysialic in Kidney Development
Dr. Anja Münster-Kühnel studied Biology and Chemistry in a Teacher Education Programme at the University of Hannover in Germany. After the First State Examination in Biology and Chemistry, she received her Ph.D. at Hannover Medical School (MHH) in the Department of Microbiology by cloning the murine enzyme CMP-sialic acid synthase, an essential enzyme in the biosynthesis of sialoglycoconjugates. As a group leader at the Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, MHH, she continued the molecular characterization of this enzyme and the investigation of its nuclear localization. Further, sialylation-deficient constitutive and conditional mouse models have been generated to unravel the biological function of sialoglycoconjugates in the development and immune system, especially for kidney development and operation. Recently she started to investigate novel functions of polysialic acid beyond the nervous system.
Title: Mammalian Lectin Arrays for Characterizing Host-pathogen Interactions
Dr. Drickamer began working in the field of glycan-binding receptors as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University. These receptors have been the focus of his subsequent research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the University of Chicago, Columbia University, Oxford University, and currently at Imperial College London. His work on identifying a common carbohydrate recognition led to the definition of C-type lectins as one of the major groups of glycan-binding receptors. His ongoing research is a joint project with Dr. Maureen Taylor. The aim is to develop a broad understanding of the biological roles of sugar recognition. They have used a combination of biochemical, biophysical, and molecular biological approaches to understand how carbohydrate-recognition domains provide selective recognition of glycoproteins and cell surfaces. In addition, they seek to determine how such recognition leads to the targeting of biological functions, such as innate immunity to pathogens, clearance of serum glycoproteins, cell adhesion, and cell signaling, and how genetic variation in sugar-binding receptors causes changes in their molecular properties and hence contributes to human disease. Dr. Taylor and Dr. Drickamer co-authored the textbook Introduction to Glycobiology, designed to introduce the field to students and researchers from other disciplines.
Title: Pectic Glycoconjugates in Plant Cell Walls: Working Toward Understanding their Structure, Synthesis and Function
Dr. Debra Mohnen is a Distinguished Research Professor at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia. She studies pectin synthesis, structure, and function with an emphasis on the role of pectin in wall architecture and plant cell growth. She was awarded the Bruce Stone Award in 2008 for pectin synthesis and elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013. Her research on synthesizing pectin glycan backbones, homogalacturonan, and rhamnogalacturonan, led to the discovery of the GAUT and RGGAT families of glycosyltransferases and the finding that pectin is a family of glycan domains in both cell wall heteroglycans and glycoconjugates. Since 2007 part of her research has been directed at improving plant biomass yield, sustainability, and composition for producing biofuel and biomaterials. As Focus Area Lead of Plant Biomass Formation and Modification in the BioEnergy Science Center, she directed a team of researchers aimed at overcoming biomass recalcitrance to deconstruction, and since 2017 she has served as Research Domain Lead for Integrative Analysis and Understanding in the Center for Bioenergy Innovation. Her current focus is understanding the roles of pectin in cell expansion and wall structure.
Title: Molecular Signals Controlling the Biosynthesis and Biological Activities of Cell Envelope (Lipo)Polysaccharides in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Dr. Mary Jackson is currently a Professor of Bacteriology in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at Colorado State University. She earned a Bioengineering degree and an MSc. Degree from the National School of Agronomy, Rennes, France, in 1994, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology from the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France, in 1998.
Her research focuses on the elucidation of critical pathways leading to the biosynthesis and export of (glyco)lipids, fatty acids, and polysaccharides in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and other mycobacterial pathogens of clinical interest to inform novel therapeutic strategies.
Dr. Jackson has published over 185 peer-reviewed scientific articles and serves on numerous grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health and other Federal, private, and non-profit funding agencies globally.
Title: Chemical Glycobiology Studies on Bacterial Pseudaminic Acid
Professor Xuechen Li received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2007. After postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Prof. Samuel Danishefsky at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, he joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Hong Kong as an Assistant Professor in 2009 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014 and Professor in 2018. He currently serves as the Associate Dean (Research & Graduate Studies) of Faculty of Science. The central theme of Professor Li’s research focuses on the chemical biology of synthetic biomolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, and glycoconjugates) to study fundamental biological questions and develop potential therapeutic applications.
Title: Quantitative descriptions of structure-function relationships of glycoSHIELD of coronavirus spike proteins
Dr. Danny Hsu is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica. During his doctorate study at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, he determined the atomic structure of a lantibiotic, nisin, in complex with Gram-positive bacterial cell wall precursor, Lipid II. He coined the term "pyrophosphate case" to explain how nisin targets Lipid II to achieve its antimicrobial activity, providing a blueprint for future antibiotics developments. During his postdoctoral research at the University of Cambridge, UK, Danny demonstrated the proof of concept of using solution-state NMR spectroscopy to investigate the co-translational folding of nascent polypeptide chains on the ribosome. His earlier independent research focused on the folding mechanisms and functional implications of topologically knotted proteins. He currently focuses on developing an integrated biophysics and structural biology platform, including cryo-electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, and molecular modeling, to investigate the structure-activity relationship (SAR) of glycoproteins, and coronavirus spike proteins, in particular, and how mutations impact on the SAR in the context of glycosylation.
Title: Glycosyl Hydrolases from the Seeds of Cucurbitaceae
Professor Nadimpalli is a Senior Professor in Biochemistry at University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, India. He did his postdoctoral training at DAAD, Wuerzburg and Goettingen, Germany, and has been a faculty at University of Hyderabad since 1986.
His glyco-related contributions include development of novel affinity methods to purify mannose 6-phosphate receptors, discovery of LERP from Drosophila and lysosomal enzymes and their receptors in Hydra. He also identified and purified several plant and animal glycosidases, contributed towards understanding the physiological significance of Cucurbitaceae seed lectins and glycosidases.
His Research Interests are (1) Evolution of lysosomal biogenesis; (2) Legume and non-legume lectins-structure-function relationships; (3) Physiological functions of Plant lectins and glycosidases from legumes and non-legumes.
@TAIPEI, AUG 27~SEP 1 2023
Meet our invited speakers for the Glyco26. To learn more about each individual speaker, please click on the photos below. Speakers are arranged by the first alphabet of surname but starting from a randomized alphabet each time.