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B6: Proof and quantification of cell recognition processes by the chiral induction of glycolipids in micellar solutions

Keywords: Cell recognition; glycolipids; lyotropic cholesteric phase; helical twisting power (HTP)

chiral twisting Biological functions of membranes are controlled by the physical properties of the supramolecular aggregates of the lipids, which are a result of the stereochemistry of the lipid molecules. For example, fusion and transport processes (exocytosis/endocytosis) of membranes can be caused by phase transition between lamellar phases and bicontinous cubic phases, which can be controlled by the banana-shaped structure of the polar head group of the lipids.
Natural lipids are normally chiral. These chirality reduces the symmetry of membranes (-> in plane properties) and enhances the specifity of interactions. Glycolipids can be used as chiral dopants for lyotropic nematic phases. The helical twisting power in these cholesteric phases depends on the length of the sugar units and the conformation of the sugar. Conformation changes and aggregation process (recognition) changes the helical twisting power.
We are characterizing the phase behaviour (thermotropic phases, lyotropic phases) and supramolecular structures (micelles, vesicles, gels) of glycolipids and measuring the interaction between carbohydrates and lipids in LC test phases. The goal is to quantify recognition processes based on weak molecular interactions. The long term goal is to influence recognition processes.


Prof. Dr. Volkmar Vill

Universität Hamburg
Institut für Organische Chemie
20146 Hamburg

Telefon: 040 42838 4269
Telefax: 040 42838 4325

Last Change: 07.02.2005 by Matthias Vill
Contact: Martina Krasa