Abstract by Ryan Lavering
Chemistry and Biochemistry
Total Synthesis of Glycolipids from Fungi-Zygomycetes and the Evaluation of their NKT cells\' stimulatory properties
Zygomycetes, from the fungi phylum Zygomycota, are a pathogenic threat to humans. They are curious in that they contain neutral glycosphingolipids, whereas most other sphingolipids contain inositol. Aureobasidin A, a known antifungal agent that targets fungi with inositol-containing sphingolipids are ineffective when used against Zygomycetes. Also, by taking certain glycosphingolipids, such as a-GalCer, and administering them to mice, the immunological response of NKT cells in mammals has been observed. Immunity from the glycosphingolipids synthesized in Zygomycetes, such as ceramide dissacharide (CDS), has not been studied because they are simply not abundant in nature. Therefore, the need to synthesize them is apparent. Our central hypothesis is that if we can synthesize CDS, then we will be able to more easily see the unique NKT cell immunological responses when administered to mice. Our long-term goal is to obtain the necessary information to eventually produce a cure for mucormycosis.