MIT creates synthetic mucus that traps toxins better than real

Mucus is not only a sign of disease, but also an important part of our body's defense against disease. everyday

our bodies produce over a liter of slippery substance, covering a surface area of ​​over 400 square meters, to trap and disarm bacteria.

The mucus is made up of mucins or mucoproteins.This is a family of high molecular weight glycoproteins containing acidic polysaccharides. They have a gel-like consistency and are produced by epithelial cells of almost all animals, including humans. For a long time, scientists have been trying to create synthetic versions of mucins in the hope of replicating their beneficial properties. In a new study, researchers at MIT have created synthetic polymer-based mucins. They most closely mimic the structure and function of naturally occurring mucoproteins. Scientists have also shown that these synthetic mucins can effectively neutralize the bacterial toxin that causes cholera.

To create polymers, researchers usedSchrock's catalyst based on tungsten to form cis versions of polymers, mucin mimetics. They compared these polymers to those made with another ruthenium-based catalyst that creates trans versions. Scientists found that the cis versions were more like natural mucins, that is, they formed very elongated, water-soluble polymers. In contrast, trans polymers formed globules that stick together rather than stretch.

The researchers then tested the abilitysynthetic mucins mimic the function of natural mucoproteins. They found that when exposed to the toxin produced by Vibrio cholerae, the elongated cis polymers trap the toxin much better than the trans polymers. In fact, synthetic mimics for cis-mucin were even more effective than natural mucins.

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Metathesis occurs in Schrock's catalystolefins - reactions in which the redistribution of alkylidene groups between olefins occurs in the presence, as a rule, are catalyzed by carbenoid metal complexes. There are several types of metathesis, according to the type of initial and product:

Mimetic agonists are "pretenders" who mimic the body's own governing substances (ie bioligands).

Globule - the state (set of conformations) of the polymer chain,in which fluctuations in the concentration of units are small: their correlation radius is much smaller than the size of the macromolecule. The concentration of units in the globular state is much higher than in the polymer coil, and this concentration is constant throughout the entire volume of the globule, except for a thin layer on the surface (for example, the polymer / solvent interface), called the edge globules.