Research in the McAllister group focuses developing methods to produce glycopeptides and glycoproteins (i.e. peptides and proteins modified with carbohydrates), to investigate the roles of these fundamental biological molecules. Carbohydrates are involved in many important biological processes across all Kingdoms of life including how organisms recognise pathogens, how cancers can spread and the basis of the different A/B/O blood groups in humans.
We have an interest in enzymes that modify proteins with glycans, particularly O-GalNAc* glycans, and developing approaches to produce proteins with authentic glycosylation patterns. A current PhD student is investigating which proteins are modified by particular GalNAc-transferases.
Another area of investigation is carbohydrate-mediated host-pathogen interactions and we also have a PhD student working towards targeting these as a novel form of pest control in crop species.
We use a variety of chemical biology approaches techniques including recombinant protein expression, in vitro protein synthesis, solid-phase peptide synthesis, in vitro assays, biophysics and synthetic chemistry.