Caister Academic Press

Application of Bacterial Glycosyltransferases in the Synthesis of Bioactive Glycans

Warren Wakarchuk
from: Bacterial Glycomics: Current Research, Technology and Applications (Edited by: Christopher W. Reid, Susan M. Twine, and Anne N. Reid). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


It is now accepted that complex glycans play major roles in biology, such as the development of the embryo, the function of the immune system, microbial and viral pathogenesis and cellular communication, to name just a few. The many faceted roles that glycans play in biology makes them a challenge to understand on functional level, and the complexity of the structures themselves makes them daunting targets for chemical synthesis, which is required for examination of their binding interactions and for future development of carbohydrate based therapeutics. In order to facilitate the synthesis of complex glycans, we have been examining glycosyltransferases which make strategic linkages in biologically active glycans. Many of the mammalian enzymes have not been as easy to express as active recombinant proteins, and many have a more restricted acceptor specificity that limits their use for synthesis. Our focus has been on the use of bacterial enzymes from pathogens which make molecular mimics of host glycans, and which have been shown to be potent catalystsfor carbohydrate synthesis. This chapter will provide a review on a variety of bacterial enzymes that we and others have enabled for in vitro synthetic carbohydrate chemistry, as well as some promising in vivo production strategies for bioactive carbohydrates read more ...
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