Current methods employed in the study capsules and their biosynthesis.
Vamsee Veeramachineni is a Post-Doctoral Fellow working in the Laboratory of Bacterial Polysaccharides at CBER/U.S.FDA....
Capsules are high-molecular-weight polysaccharides and/or polypeptides that form the outermost layer in bacterial and fungal cells. In addition to playing an important role in structural integrity, survival under harsh environmental conditions, and controlling the flow of nutrients, the capsule protects micro-organisms from host immune defenses like phagocytosis and complement-mediated lysis. There is a great structural diversity in capsular polysaccharides, not only between different bacterial species but also within the same bacterial species (with more than 80 different capsules identified in E. coli). Determining the structures of capsular polysaccharides aswell as understanding the biosynthetic machinery employed by microorganisms in synthesis and translocation of capsules across the membrane requires a thorough understanding across multiple scientific disciplines. So, this collection will focus on a variety of multidisciplinary techniques and emerging technologies in the field of glycobiology. Examples of topics in this collection include (but are not limited to): (1) Methods in enzymology to determine mechanisms of glycosyltransferases and other enzymes involved in capsule synthesis; (2) Use of modified carbohydrate analogs to label and identify capsule biosynthetic processes; (3) Chemical and analytical techniques to determine the structure of polysaccharides (including NMR and Mass-spectrometry); (4) Bioinformatic tools to compare and identify protein structure and function; and (5) Molecular biology techniques to optimize the expression and purification of membrane proteins.