UK researchers make longer oligosaccharide sequences than thought possible

In the UK, using bigger building blocks, scientists have shown they can make much longer oligosaccharide sequences than previously possibleThe traditional synthetic route to long chain oligosaccharides is drawn out and complicated; they require numerous steps to produce the precursor tetrasaccharides, then further steps to connect these precursors into long chains. Normally they’re made by an iterative two block process, generating chains up to 12 units long. Now, a four block approach, developed by John Gardiner and colleagues at the University of Manchester, significantly reduces the number of steps enabling longer sugar lengths from 16 up to 40 units. ‘Our solution-phase method requires only simple lab techniques to make the oligosaccharides,’ explains Gardiner, opening up further research possibilities to explore their biological significance and therapeutic potential.

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