Carbohydrates: Structure and Function
Carbohydrates are the biggest source of carbon and energy in nature. The complex structure of carbohydrates has a fundamental influence on all aspects of life including for example as nutrient, building material and for cell-cell communication and interaction. To get a better understanding how carbohydrates fulfill such a diverse set of roles, a detailed molecular picture is necessary. X-ray crystallography is a particular well suited technique to shed light on these aspects.
In our group we use biophysical methods including crystallography to understand the molecular details of carbohydrates with other macromolecules, in particular proteins.
The group seeks to understand the molecular basis of the interaction of glycans with different types of antibodies against bacterial targets and develop common principles of carbohydrate recognition by antibodies. Furthermore we seek to understand the molecular origin of carbohydrate immunogenicity and why some structures create protective immune cells whereas others not.
We also characterise different carbohydrate active enzymes, hydrolases and transferases, involved in the synthesis and remodeling of plant cell wall compounds.