Synthesis and Evaluation of Bu6Tre, a Cell Permeable Analogue of Trehalose, for the Protection of Mammalian Cells

Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted (Opt-Out)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Margot Paulick




Trehalose, Jurkats, Neutral Red, Esters, Mammalian Cells, Cell-Permeable, Bu6Tre


Mammalian cells are important for the success of many medical and research endeavors. Unfortunately, these cells are fragile; manipulation or long-term storage often leads to a significant decrease in cell viability. We have developed a novel strategy for protecting mammalian cells using the disaccharide trehalose. Trehalose is a natural cellular protectant that is biosynthesized by organisms such as fungi, insects, and bacteria when they are exposed to stressful conditions. A significant barrier to the introduction of trehalose into mammalian cells is the impermeability of mammalian cell membranes to hydrophilic sugars such as trehalose. We have synthesized cell-permeable analogues of trehalose that deliver high concentrations of free trehalose into mammalian cells. Critically, we have demonstrated that these analogs are able to protect mammalian cells from heat shock-induced apoptosis. In our current work, we have synthesized new cell-permeable trehalose analogues and are evaluating them for their protective effects. Our novel approach for the delivery of trehalose into mammalian cells has the ability to be widely applicable for the protection of mammalian cells exposed to a variety of conditions, ultimately providing a means to improve their longevity during storage, transport, and manipulation.

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