Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Sugar-Coated Nanosheets Hit Specific Pathogen Targets

Researchers have developed a process for creating ultrathin, self-assembling sheets of synthetic materials that can function like designer flypaper in selectively binding with viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

The sheets were designed to present simple sugars in a patterned way along their surfaces, and these sugars, in turn, were demonstrated to selectively bind with several proteins, including one associated with the Shiga toxin, which causes dysentery. Because the outside of our cells are flat and covered with sugars, these 2-D nanosheets can effectively mimic cell surfaces.

The nanosheets could also potentially be used in environmental cleanups to neutralize specific toxins and pathogens, and the sheets could potentially be scaled to target viruses like Ebola and bacteria like E. coli, and other pathogens.

In the latest study, the researchers confirmed that the bindings with the targeted proteins were successful by embedding a fluorescent dye in the sheets and attaching another fluorescent dye on the target proteins. A color change indicated that a protein was bound to the nanosheet.

The intensity of this color change can also guide researchers to improve them, and to discover new nanosheets that could target specific pathogens.

See: ACS Nano “Glycosylated Peptoid Nanosheets as a Multivalent Scaffold for Protein Recognition.”

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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