Publication in: Spring 2023 Issue

Synthesis of Anti-Adhesion Carbohydrates Against Bacterial Biofilms
Kaitlyn Llewellyn
Faculty Mentor(s):
Caitlin McMahon
Abstract / Summary:
Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem as misuse of these drugs has increased and more bacterial infections become resistant. Bacterial adhesion to host cells is a virulence factor leading to colonization and biofilm formation, making infections harder to treat. Anti-virulence methods block bacterial virulence factors, like adhesion, providing an alternative to antibiotic treatment. Creating anti-adhesion molecules to bind to bacteria, making them incapable of adhering to a host cell, is a known anti-virulence method. F17G and GafD are E. coli lectins that facilitate adhesion by binding to N-acetyl-ß-D-glucosamine (GlcNAc), found in the microvilli of intestinal epithelial cells. The goal of this project is to make derivatives of GlcNAc to serve as inhibitors of F17G/GafD-mediated E. coli adhesion. Multiple modifications have been made at the amide position to increase the potency of inhibitors by varying sterics, electronics, and binding groups. Synthesized inhibitors have been purified to be used for future testing of their effectiveness at halting adhesion.
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