This project is exploring the production of molecules decorated with carbohydrate chains including heparin, heparan sulphate and chondroitin sulphate as these have important biological activities for tissue repair. A challenge for their production is that the carbohydrate chains are synthesised by intracellular enzymes and not a template driven process as for proteins that are encoded by DNA.
One example is the production of heparin, a carbohydrate anticoagulant used clinically to prevent thrombosis. We have developed a method to produce heparin via the recombinant expression of the protein core that is naturally decorated with the carbohydrate heparin and the culture of these cells in bioreactor conditions that promote the production of heparin chains with anticoagulant activity.
This project underpins activities in tissue engineering by producing the molecules to direct tissue repair and regeneration.