Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More and more glycans all the time. Are we studying the wrong molecules?

That image above is our good friend Campylobacter jejuni.  For some reason I had associated this bacteria strongly in my mind with the "traveler's sickness." A quick Google search says its probably one of many bacteria that can be linked to these unpleasant symptoms we sometimes incur while globe trotting.

Now, our buddy Campy here lives just fine in chickens, but tends to cause some serious problems for us and this new paper from Weston Struwe et. al., (in press at MCP and currently open access) wanted to figure out what the difference was here.

In order to get to the bottom of it, they use a complex experimental design involving both human cells and chicken intestines which is a complex system they previously designed.  Then they go after released glycans and analyze them with an LTQ.

The answer?  (Gosh, there is a theme here in the literature....) Its a protein glycosylation thing.  Sometimes it seems like everything is coming around to glycans!

If glycans are your thing...or if protein abundance isn't answering your questions....you might want to check this out.  Man, I know I shouldn't be bummed out that we keep finding solutions to these problems, but glycans are a whole lot harder to work with than regular old peptides.  Guess I'm going to have to dust off those old protocols from grad school...

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