Expression and Purification of Glycosyltransferases in Pichia Pastoris: Towards Improving the Migration of Stem Cells by Enhancing Surface Expression of Sialyl Lewis X

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Recruitment of circulating cells towards target sites is primarily dependent on E-selectin receptor/ligand adhesive interactions. Glycosyltransferase (GTs) are involved in the creation of E-selectin ligands. A sialofucosylated terminal tetrasaccharide like glycan structure known as sialyl Lewis x (sLex), is the most recognized ligand by selectins. This structure is found on the surface of cancer cells and leukocytes but is often absent on the surface of many adult stem cell populations. In order to synthesize sLex, GTs must be endogenously expressed and remain active within the cells. Generally, these stem cells express terminal sialylated lactosamine structures on their glycoproteins which require the addition of alpha-(1,3)-fucose to be converted into an E-selectin ligand. There are a number of fucosyltransferases (FUTs) that are able to modify terminal lactosamine structures to create sLex such as FUT6. In this work we focused on expressing and purifying active recombinant FUTs as a tool to help create sLex structures on the surface of adult stem cells in order to enhance their migration.
Date of AwardMay 2017
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorJasmeen Merzaban (Supervisor)


  • Stem Cells
  • Cellular migration
  • FUTs purification

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