Professor of biology José Salas and coworkers at the University of Oviedo, Spain, use a different tack. They insert into microorganisms plasmids that endow them with the ability to synthesize novel sugars, which are then transferred to natural products by glycosyltransferases. «Because glycosyltransferases are relatively flexible in their ability to recognize and transfer different sugars, the final result is the generation of novel glycosylated derivatives from a natural product that the microorganism usually synthesizes,» Salas says.
Salas and coworkers recently generated glycosylated derivatives of the protein-kinase inhibitor staurosporine this way and are testing them for inhibitory potency. This technology is also being used by EntreChem, a University of Oviedo spin-off company they founded, to produce anticancer drug candidates.
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Cover Story – Vol. 84 – N. 36 – Pages 13-22
glycosylation_engineering.pdf (308 KB)