Enzymatic deconstruction of microbial polysaccharide networks
Polysaccharide networks have an enormous impact on human life and nature as a whole. The cell walls of fungi and biofilms represent such complex networks that are tightly linked to diseases and other major issues in society. A majority of bacterial infections in humans are related to bacteria residing in protective biofilms, and invasive fungal infections have a very high mortality rate, especially for immune-compromised individuals. Both types of infections are also very difficult to treat. In the biofilm referred to as dental plaque, which affects over a third of the world’s population, as well as in fungal cell walls, insoluble polysaccharides are found as key structural components. These polysaccharides are not made by human cells, and thus represent a target to disrupt using enzymatic means. In this project, the goal is to greatly deepen the knowledge of enzymes able to act on these structures through a combination of biochemical and structural studies. We will also use novel biochemical tools to combine the enzymes with other enzyme types targeting other parts of the biofilms/cell walls, to probe intramolecular synergies similar to what has been demonstrated in degradation of complex plant cell walls.
- Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) (Academic, Sweden)
- University of Gothenburg (Academic, Sweden)
- University of Gothenburg (Publisher, Sweden)
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- Swedish Research Council (VR) (Public, Sweden)