The Integrated Technology Resource for Biomedical Glycomics at the University of Georgia is focused on developing technologies and tools for the biomedical community to facilitate the study of glycomics: the glycans, glycoconjugates, proteins that regulate their expression, and proteins that recognize them. The platform the Resource has chosen to drive glycomics technology development is that of stem cell differentiation in vitro. One of the most promising areas of biomedical research is in the differentiation of stem cells into cell types that can be developed for the treatment of various diseases, such as diabetes. As differentiation is directed in culture, there is a critical need for the development of specific cell surface markers to enable separation of target cell populations. Since cells are covered with glycans, and glycan expression is known to change during differentiation and in many diseases such as cancer, they are prime targets for cell marker discovery. The technologies of the Resource have allowed significant progress in identifying specific changes in cellular glycan expression during mouse stem cell differentiation. During the next funding cycle, the Resource will transition into human stem cells, both embryonic and adult. Through its own Core 1 Human Stem Cell Platform and Collaborative Projects, several types of cells will be analyzed. Core 2, Glycoprotein and Glycolipid Analysis, will focus on increasing the sensitivities of glycan identification and quantitation such that <105 cells can be analyzed, opening the door for the use of clinical tissue samples. In addition, this Core will also focus on methods for elucidating the site-specific glycosylation of glycoproteins, a novel method for studying glycan biosynthesis using metabolic isotopic labeling of glycans, and glycosphingolipid expression. Core 3, Glycotranscriptome, will continue to develop methods for RTPCR quantitation of glycogene transcripts (mouse and human) and elucidating glycan biosynthetic pathways. Core 4, Bioinformatics, will extend its programs to allow integration of glycan and transcript expression to allow a comprehensive picture of the changes of the glycome during differentiation and means to visualize and query the data. In addition, it will expand its CLYDE II protocol that allows various carbohydrate databases from around the world to communicate. The Analytical Service and Training Program of the Resource analyzes samples from across the U.S., has added glycotranscriptome analysis, and is expanding to include glycosaminoglycans analysis. Several workshops on various aspects of glycan analysis are offered each year. Technologies from the Resource are having an impact on stem cell medicine, as well as the development of biomarkers for specific types of cancer and for other diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Biotechnology Resource Grants (P41)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-CB-L (40))
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Sheeley, Douglas
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University of Georgia
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