Automation of Mature PG Synthesis


  • Kaitlin Lupinacci, Chemistry, University of Delaware

Faculty Mentor(s)

  • Catherine Grimes, Chemistry/Biochemistry, University of Delaware


The bacterial cell wall is comprised of carbohydrate polymers with extending peptide chains referred to as peptidoglycan (PG). PG structure can be broken down into biologically relevant fragments that interact with the human innate immune system and activate immune receptors. The innate immune system is our body’s first line of defense against invading pathogens. When bacteria, both pathogenic and commensal, are misrecognized by the immune system, dysbiosis and chronic inflammation occur. The synthetic accessibility of fragments, including disaccharides, limits further study of how variations seen in the bacterial cell wall of difference species change immunostimulatory response. A former member of the Grimes Lab, Dr. Siavash Masheyekh, synthesized mature crosslinked PG fragments to obtain preliminary RT-PCR data. My project utilizes automated solid phase synthesis to streamline the synthesis and obtain larger quantities of mature PG fragments to further probe key properties in PG and allow us to build out the library of biologically relevant fragments.