David Albesa
David Albesa
Ikerbasque Research Fellow
Address: Bizkaia Science and Technology Park,
building 800, Derio (Bizkaia)
Structural Glycobiology Lab

The Structural Glycobiology Lab investigates the structural determinants and the modulation of substrate specificity of proteins involved in the biosynthesis and modification of glycans. They use a multidisciplinary approach including X-ray Crystallography, Small Angle X-ray Scattering, Electron Microscopy, Protein Biophysics, Protein Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, to elucidate mechanistic aspects of these processes at the molecular level. Research is concentrated - but not limited – on two main lines:

1. Carbohydrate-Modifying Enzymes

Most of the enzymes encoded in eukaryotic/prokaryotic/archaeans genomes that are responsible for the biosynthesis, degradation and modification of glycan structures are Carbohydrate-Modifying Enzymes, including: glycoside hydrolases (GHs), glycosyltransferases (GTs), polysaccharide lyases (PLs), carbohydrate esterases (CEs) and other auxiliary proteins (e.g. redox enzymes, carbohydrate binding modules). They are highly selective in nature, allowing the recognition of subtle structural differences in the sequences and stereochemistry of their carbohydrate substrates. In this context, the long-term goal of the Lab is to investigate the structural determinants and the modulation of substrate specificity of Carbohydrate-Modifying Enzymes at the molecular level.

2. The cell envelope of Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The cell envelope of M. tuberculosis contains glycans and lipids of exceptional structure that play prominent roles in the biology and pathogenesis of tuberculosis (TB). Consequently, the chemical structure and biosynthesis of the cell envelope is currently intensively studied in order to identify novel drug targets. The long-term goal of our Lab is (i) to investigate the mechanistic aspects of proteins involved in the biosynthesis of this particularly complex structure, and (ii) to understand in molecular detail the fundamental question of how the cell envelope is organized in space and time, within the context of its interaction with the host.