Synthesis of N-glycans implicated in asthma and allergy
Asthma and allergies affect a large number of people, with over 300 million people worldwide suffering from asthma alone. Although, on the ‟macroscopic‟ level, it is known how allergens trigger allergic reactions, it is not known how an allergen's ‟micro‟ structure causes such a profound allergic response in sensitised individuals. A review of inter-species carbohydrate motifs revealed a striking similarity between carbohydrate moieties (N-glycans) present on antigens derived from species known to give an allergic T helper (Th) 2 response in humans (such as pollen, schistosomes, and food allergens). Preliminary studies on mixtures of allergen extracts have suggested that these carbohydrate motifs (glycoproteins) bias the immune response to an allergic (Th2) response. This project presents work conducted towards the synthesis of three fragments of a larger N-glycan found on allergens. The synthesis of these N-glycans will allow the first detailed study regarding the relationship between N-glycan structure and Th2 bias to be performed and thereby aid in our understanding of the molecular triggers of asthma. Ultimately, this could lead to the elucidation of the mechanisms of the allergic Th2 immune response.