Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Biomolecular Sciences

First Advisor

Vitor Pomin

Second Advisor

Paul Boudreau

Third Advisor

John Rimoldi

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Marine algal species are composed of various macromolecules endowed with potential biological actions, such as carbohydrates. Sugars are complex in nature with a multitude of monosaccharides constructed into polymers. We call complex carbohydrate polysaccharides those of great structural variation. The sulfation pattern adds to their complexity, creating scientific interest in the aquatic organisms from which these molecules can be extracted. Sulfated polysaccharides are now increasingly studied for their potential biological properties as anticoagulants and as antivirals. Heparin is a naturally occurring sugar in the human body that is necessary for proper anticoagulation. Many people today suffer from a dysfunctional coagulation cascade, so possible substituents have been studied to design lifesaving medications for these patients. These prescriptions are commonly known as blood thinners. However, blood thinners can create harmful and life altering symptoms. Research shows that marine sulfated polysaccharides possess qualities closely related to heparin, allowing for a possible substitution. The improvement of current blood thinning medications and the creation of superior drugs for this illness is one of the objectives of this study. Along with this sugar’s anticoagulant properties, a newly studied antiviral effect is being discovered in this macromolecule. It is found that sulfated polysaccharides can prevent viral infection by various mechanisms. My project studied the anticoagulant properties and antiSARS-CoV-2 effects of a specific sulfated polysaccharide from the red alga Botryocladia occidentalis.

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