Dr J.-P. Praly received his PhD in Organic Chemistry at the University of Lyon. In 1976, he joined the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) as an academic researcher with Pr. G. Descotes. First, he studied free-radical routes (halogenation, reduction, C—C / C—O bond formation) shown to occur with high stereocontrol at the anomeric center of sugars. He hold a 1-year position in a French company developing the industrial synthesis of vitamin E, then a 2-year postdoctoral position at the University of Alberta, Canada with Pr. R.U. Lemieux for studying the anomeric effect by NMR spectroscopy. At Claude-Bernard University of Lyon, he started collaborations whereby organic syntheses by ionic, radical, photochemical and concerted routes led to new sugar derivatives, glycomimics and rare or new amino acids. Many of them were valuable chemical tools for investigating glycosidase and glycosyl transferases, or the oral antithrombotic properties of 5-thio-xylopyranosides. In recent work, the synthetic strategies were often designed towards potential glucose-based inhibitors of glycogen phosphorylase (GP), an emerging target for the pharmacological control of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The quest for hypoglycemic molecules benefited from a multidisciplinary collaboration with groups in France, Greece, and Hungary. The glucomimics synthesized were tested (kinetic, crystallography) as GP inhibitors. More tests with cells and rats are in progress. The group has interest in protein glycosylation as the O-linked modification with N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAcylation). A program with the University of Monastir, Tunisia involves syntheses by dipolar cycloadditions of chiral nitrones and alkenes to afford insulinotropic enantiopure amino acids while ongoing work aims at preparing neuroactive molecules. Other collaborations aim at designing topologically varied multivalent glyco-clusters via a “Click-Chemistry” approach to study lectin-carbohydrate interactions.
Biography Updated on 10 November 2010