Cell membranes are coated with a layer of sugar and fat molecules termed glycolipids. It is increasingly realised that glycolipids have important functions and many cell-cell interactions, adhesion, motility and signalling events are mediated by glycolipid interactions.
In Multiple Sclerosis and the inflammatory paralysis Guillain Barré syndrome, some patients have antibodies that react against their own glycolipids. Previously, such interactions and antibodies were studied by isolating single glycolipids and analysing binding by ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).
The University of Glasgow has identified a novel way of looking at proteins that bind glycolipids in membranes in a new process called combinatorial glycorray. This glycoarray allows multiple complexes to be spotted onto an artificial membrane composed of polyvinyldifluoride (PVDF) which can then be used to assess binding of proteins and antibodies.
PCT/GB2009/001665 (Pending application)
Contact is welcomed from organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this technology with a view to commercialisation.