Scissoring the lipids

July 28, 2014

A new strategy which enables molecules to be disconnected essentially anywhere, even remote from functionality, is described by researchers from the University of Bristol in Nature Chemistry today. The method is now being developed to explore the possibility of creating a tuberculosis (TB) vaccine.

The organic synthesis strategy, developed by Professor Varinder Aggarwal and Dr Ramesh Rasappan in the School of Chemistry, involves a new method for combining smaller fragments together in which there is no obvious history in the product of their genesis.

The paper describes not only this new strategy, but also its application to the shortest known synthesis, just 14 steps, of hydroxyphthioceranic acid, a key component of the cell wall lipid of the virulent mycobacterium .

Professor Aggarwal said: "Tuberculosis bacteria (TB) have an extraordinary thick lipid coat which acts as an impenetrable waxy barrier to cytotoxic agents, making it especially challenging to combat. Vaccination would be an ideal solution against TB and the lipid coat has been identified as a potential antigen. This requires the synthesis of the complex lipid which is composed of a disaccharide sugar core along with the complex chiral lipid, hydroxyphthioceranic acid."

In a collaborative project funded by the Gates Foundation, the method is now being scaled up to explore the possibility of creating a TB vaccine based on the cell wall sulfolipid.

Explore further: Scientists establish proof-of-concept for host-directed tuberculosis therapy

More information: Nature Chemistry (2014), DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2010

Related Stories

Potential new drug for tuberculosis

August 5, 2013

A new drug capable of inhibiting growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is reported this week in Nature Medicine. The findings may improve therapeutic options for the treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis (TB).

Recommended for you

Zika in fetal brain tissue responds to a popular antibiotic

November 30, 2016

Working in the lab, UC San Francisco researchers have identified fetal brain tissue cells that are targeted by the Zika virus and determined that azithromycin, a common antibiotic regarded as safe for use during pregnancy, ...

Zika and glaucoma linked for first time in new study

November 30, 2016

A team of researchers in Brazil and at the Yale School of Public Health has published the first report demonstrating that the Zika virus can cause glaucoma in infants who were exposed to the virus during gestation.

Flu forecasts successful on neighborhood level

November 30, 2016

Scientists at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health developed a computer model to predict the onset, duration, and magnitude of influenza outbreaks for New York City boroughs and neighborhoods. They found ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.