Dr. Lisa Prevette received a Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement for her work titled "Characterization of the Interaction Between Cell-Penetrating Compounds and Glycosaminoglycans." This grant began July 1, 2012 and will support students for up to three years.
Cellular uptake remains a significant hurdle in the development of drug and gene delivery technologies. Cell-penetrating compounds (CPCs) have been used to enhance the internalization of such systems, but their mechanism at the cell surface is poorly understood. We hypothesize that cell membrane glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) play an integral role in the recognition and subsequent internalization of CPCs and their attached cargo. Therefore, the proposed research will study the CPC-GAG interaction through binding thermodynamics, identification of chemical functional groups involved in binding and the conformational changes that occur. This information will lead to structure-function relationships that facilitate future design of drug and gene delivery agents.