Medical Research

University of Georgia

Michael Tiemeyer, Stephen Dalton, Marcus Fechheimer, Charles Schwartz, Richard Steet, Kevin Strauss, Lance Wells
Athens, GA
December 2014

The cell surfaces of all multicellular organisms are enveloped within a coating of carbohydrates called glycans which are linked to proteins and lipids.  These glycans comprise the interface at which cells interact with each other and with their environment.  Individual cell types express characteristic glycans in order to broadcast their identity, ensure productive interactions with other cells and protect themselves from pathogens.  A growing number of human diseases disrupt glycosylation and neural cells are particularly sensitive to this perturbation.  University of Georgia investigators, in collaboration with researchers from Greenwood Genetic Center  (Greenwood, SC) and the Clinic for Special Children (Strasburg, PA), propose to identify and characterize the glycosylation changes that affect cognitive disorders, for example, familial Alzheimer’s disease (FAD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and X-linked intellectual disability (XLID).  They have developed several state-of-the-art mass spectrometry-based analytical tools and would apply these tools for high throughput mass spectrometry to obtain the glycomic profiles of diseased and normal human neural cells and assess how an altered glycome impacts cell-specific functions.  The investigators would also screen for modifiers of glycosylation as potential therapeutic leads for ameliorating glycomic deficiencies.  If successful the project would advance current technologies for glycomic analyses and directly link altered glycosylation with cognitive diseases.

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