FWF Fellow Dr. Katharina Paschinger

Great advances have been made in recent years as regards genomic comparisons between organisms due to the large number of genome sequencing projects. In part these studies have altered our view of the phylogeny of organisms. However, the comparison of protein-linked carbohydrates, e.g., N-linked glycans, between organisms continues to lag behind due to the complicated nature of glycan analyses. On the other hand, glycans in their various types have key roles in development and morphogenesis as they cover the surfaces of all cells and so are involved in a wide range of cell-cell interactions.

In my previous project, I focussed on the N-linked glycans of the echinodermata, a group of marine organisms including starfish and sea urchins, which are 'advanced' invertebrates, but are still not members of the chordata, a group including the vertebrates. Despite the evolutionary and phylogenetic importance of the transition to the vertebrate state, a process undoubtedly accompanied by new cell-cell interactions, there were few data regarding the glycans of the organisms which are in the 'grey zone' between typical invertebrates (e.g., worms and insects) and vertebrates (including humans).

In my current project, Glycoself, I will look in more detail at N-glycans of bivalves - with particular attention to self/non-self recognition.

For lists of my publications, refer to ORCID or the BOKU research information.