Simona Notova thesis defense on June 29th, 2022

03 June 2022
Simona Notova completed her thesis at Cermav under the supervision of Anne Imberty (CNRS Research Director). It is entitled "Engineering of neo-lectins and Janus lectins". Click on the title for more information.


“Glycobiology is a rapidly growing field of natural sciences with a focus on glycans, glycoconjugates and glycan binding proteins. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins present in all types of organisms and they display wide range of biological functions. As encoded in their name (from Latin – legere – to select), each lectin is specific only to a finite group of glycans and in order to ensure higher affinity, they are generally multivalent. Lectins are powerful glycan-profiling tools and even though some of them already found their applications, the discovery of novel lectins is still desirable. In this regard, involvement of synthetic biology and protein engineering are of high interest for building of lectin architecture and tuning their specificity.

Various approaches for lectin discovery or engineering are presented in this thesis. The thesis is composed of several chapters, where the introduction is dedicated to the general description of lectins and lectin engineering with the respect to their specificity and topology, including a short review on engineering of β-propeller and β-trefoil lectins. The results are presented in three scientific articles (in the format of preprint or manuscripts in preparation). The first publication describes the discovery and characterization of novel pore-forming lectin with specificity toward cancer cells glyco-epitope. In the second manuscript, synthetic biology approach was used to create artificial proteins with the ability to recognize plant cell wall polymers and to be used as glue proteins in the construction of an artificial plant cell wall. The third manuscript generalizes the Janus lectin strategy as a universal tool for creation of bispecific chimeras with increased valency. The last chapter summarizes the achieved results and propose new perspectives and challenges giving the special importance to the continuation of lectin engineering.”

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