Very exciting work happening over in Trinity College Dublin this week! Scientists working in Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology have made groundbreaking moves in a study which combines several different disciplines, including “linguistics, enzymology and mathematical modeling”.
In this recently published study, the group have revealed a new language written by them to gain more information about cells. The computer-based language will allow deciphering of the way in which proteins are modified by sugar molecules. It aids in understanding how cells can develop multiple glycoforms of the same protein, and has the potential to help in gaining more information about cancer cells, neurons, and immune cells, among others. This means that they could use it to get more data on how these cells change their surface glycosylation when there is a disease present.
Andrew McDonald, a team member who invented the language, said that their system “is capable of predicting the millions of possible glycoforms in the cell and also the control points that generate much of the complexity present in normal and cancerous cells”.
Funding for the study was provided by EU Marie Curie and Science Foundation Ireland to Professor Gavin Davey, an Associate Professor in Neuroscience at Trinity, and his team. Along with the published study, the group also launched an interactive web application called O-Glycologue which is a simulator of the enzymes of O-linked glycosylation. The app is available to the public through the Trinity College Dublin website.
This is the type of research that is wonderful to see our partners engaging in and we’re proud to potentially link our undergraduate applicants with institutions where groundbreaking research is taking place. If you have any undergraduate research that’s you’re particularly proud of or are currently doing an interesting project, don’t forget to submit it to us here.