Date of Award

Winter 2007

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Steven B Levery


Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) play important roles in many fundamental biological processes like activation of signal transduction pathways, immune responses, and cell-cell interactions. Recent reports imply that fungal GSLs are important targets for the antifungal action of plant defensins. In order to study intermolecular interactions of GSLs, it is crucial to know their structures in detail. This thesis consists of two projects in which fungal GSLs of biological and biomedical significance are studied. In the first project, we have completed the structural characterization of acidic GSLs from S. cerevisiae using NMR spectroscopy and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). The second project of this thesis is carried out to help understand some of the possible interactions of fungal GSLs with plant defensins. Studies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and mass spectrometry are used to clarify some of the structural requirements for GSL--defensin interactions. These in turn should lead to more general insights into structure--function relationships of GSLs and proteins that bind to them.