• Charlotte Dalton

Student thesis: Phd


Heparan sulfate (HS) is a cell-surface sulfated polysaccharide that binds to multiple proteins and has been implicated in cancer, viral infection and Alzheimer's disease. Due to the heterogeneity of HS, the structural requirements for protein binding are ill- defined. Chemical synthesis of structurally-defined HS oligosaccharides, which are tunable in terms of length, order of monosaccharides and sulfation pattern, is required for the investigation of HS-protein binding.Single molecule methods have been utilised in biophysics to study dynamic processes and can allow observation of rare events which would be 'averaged out' in ensemble measurements. Access to fluorescently labelled HS oligosaccharides should allow investigation of interactions with proteins at the single molecule level using methods such as single molecule FRET, providing a method complementary to NMR studies (ensemble) and X-ray crystallography (non-dynamic).This thesis presents the development of a method for the fluorescent labelling of a chemically synthesised HS disaccharide utilising a reducing-end amine tag. Analysis of the fluorescence properties of the labelled disaccharide at ensemble and single molecule level indicated no perturbation of the fluorophore when attached to the sugar. Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy measurements of the fluorescent HS disaccharide with the protein FGF-1 showed no binding, which is attributed to the low concentration (1 nM) of disaccharide required in the experiment.Additional work is presented in this thesis on the development of a method for atom-specific 13C labelling of HS oligosaccharides, which has been initiated by synthesis of a 13C labelled L-iduronate monosaccharide and a 13C labelled disaccharide. New strategies for the synthesis of HS oligosaccharides based on orthogonal thioglycoside-based glycosylations employing S-benzoxazolyl and S-thiazolyl donors have been investigated. Development of a chemoselective glycosylation strategy for HS oligosaccharide synthesis utilising a 'super-disarmed' [2.2.2] L-iduronic lactone is presented.
Date of Award31 Dec 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorJohn Gardiner (Supervisor) & Steven Magennis (Supervisor)


  • single molecule FRET
  • heparan sulfate
  • oligosaccharide synthesis
  • heparin

Cite this