Glycome: The Hidden Code in Biology


Dipak K. Banerjee, Ph.D. (Editor) – Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, PR USA

Series: Biochemistry Research Trends

BISAC: SCI007000

Glycome: The Hidden Code in Biology addresses one of the most fundamental questions in biology today. The book targets readers with little expertise as well as the experts in Glycoscience.

Sugars are electroneutral. However, linking sugars to sugars, or attaching sugars to proteins or lipids changes the structural and functional identities of the glycoconjugate, and enables to form cellular networks of 4Gs [i.e., glycoproteins (N-linked or O-linked), glycosphingolipids, proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs)]. These glycans (i) support growth, proliferation and differentiation of cells and tissues; (ii) protect cells from foreign invasions including bacteria, viruses, parasites as well as from changes in the extracellular environment; (iii) act as biomarkers and participate in transmembrane signaling. The glycans are not ubiquitous but they are tissue/species specific.

Structurally, the glycans are diverse, and form linear to highly branched structures. This diversity is present not only across the species but also within cells of the same species, i.e., the glycoforms. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and mass spectrometric (MS) studies (i.e., Glycomics) have evaluated and contributed significantly in delineating the structural diversity of glycans. Glycomics, in fact, has helped in overcoming many earlier technological barriers which were otherwise very laborious and time consuming. Plant lectins being carbohydrate binding proteins with a high degree of sugar specificity have been useful tools to characterize the carbohydrate structures they recognize.

The glycan structures complement their biosynthetic processes. Because of the highly compartmentalized nature of the process, the glycans move between compartments during their assembly. This is believed to be mediated by vesicular structures but the participation of exosomes cannot be ruled out.
A large number of genetic disorders [gangliosidosis, mucopolysaccharidoses, congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG)] are due to abnormal glycan synthesis or degradation. Disproportionate expression of glycans is also found in diseases like cancer, neurological disorders, diabetes, metabolic syndromes, and infection. This raises questions about the regulatory principle(s) in glycan biosynthesis.

There is no template for glycan chain synthesis, elongation, processing or termination. The cells/tissues follow a highly conserved mechanism. The assumption is glycosylation uses donor and acceptor interactions as the driving force. Increased or decreased synthesis of glycans in response to the environmental change influence cell function, i.e., growth, survival or death favor of a “push-pull” hypothesis. In the absence of a genetic code for sugars, the assembly as well as the processing of glycan chains are controlled by the Glycome. Unlike the genome, the Glycome is hidden for the normal eye but its communication skills with the cellular microenvironment and genome for glycan synthesis and degradation are enormous. Seventeen chapters in the book are dedicated to walk the readers through the diversities of the Glycome. The authors have used mammalian, microbial and plant systems to achieve the desired goal.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Interactome Facilitates Activation of Glycome Code for Asparagine-linked Protein Glycosylation
(Dipak K. Banerjee – Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA)

Chapter 2. Oligosaccharides, Oligosaccharyl Phosphates and Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation
(Ahmad G. Massarweh MD, PhD – Division of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Genetics, Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, An-Najah National University, Nablus, Palestine and Stuart E. H. Moore, PhD – INSERM U1149, Université de Paris, Paris, France)

Chapter 3. Role of Inflammation in the Regulation of Epithelial cell O-Glycosylation
(Sophie Groux-Degroote and Philippe Delannoy – Univ. Lille, CNRS, Unité de Glycobiologie Structurale et Fonctionnelle, Lille, France)

Chapter 4. The O-GlcNAc Modification in Physiology and Disease
(Lara K. Abramowitz, PhD and John A. Hanover, PhD – Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA)

Chapter 5. Polysialic Acid as an Integrative Decoder in Nervous and Reproductive Systems
(Chihiro Sato, PhD and Ken Kitajima, PhD – Bioscience and Biotechnology Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan)

Chapter 6. Decoding of α-Dystroglycan Glycosylation and Muscular Dystrophy
(Tamao Endo – Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital and Institute of Gerontology, Tokyo, Japan)

Chapter 7. The Structure of Glycosphingolipid Oligosaccharides Hides a Specific Code for Protein Recognition
(Laura Mauri, Elena Chiricozzi, Alessandro Prinetti and Sandro Sonnino – Department of Medical Biotechnology and Translational Medicine, University of Milano, Italy)

Chapter 8. Stereo-specific Glycomic Codes of the Normal and the Metastatic Cancer Cell Surfaces: Biosynthetic Pathways of Glycosphingolipids and its Probable Biological Functions
(Subhash C. Basu, PhD – Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA, Arun K. Agarwal, PhD – Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA, Manju Basu, PhD – Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA, Rui Ma, PhD – Diagnostic Div., Siemens Corp., Beijing, People’s Republic of China and Joseph R. Moskal –The Falk Center for Therapeuutivs, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, US)

Chapter 9. Carbohydrates in Health and Disease: A Plant’s Perspective
(Els J.M. Van Damme – Department of Biotechnology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium)

Chapter 10. New Paradigm for Chronic Inflammation Mediated by GM3 Ganglioside Molecular Species (Jin-ichi Inokuchi, PhD and Hirotaka Kanoh, PhD – Division of Glycopathology, Institute of Molecular Biomembrane and Glycobiology, Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Sendai, Japan)

Chapter 11. Glycans as Gastrointestinal Cancer Biomarkers: Old and New Diagnostic, Predictive and Stratifying Tools (Henrique O. Duarte and Celso A. Reis, PhD – Glycobiology in Cancer, Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)

Chapter 12. Development of a Comparative Heparan Sulfate Mutant Cell Library and its Application to Determine the Structure-Function Relation of Heparan Sulfate in Regulation of FGF2-FGFR1 Signaling
(Hong Qiu, PhD – Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA PhD, Xuehong Song, MD – Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, Morsani School of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA and Lianchun Wang, MD – Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology, Morsani School of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA, Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute, Morsani School of Medicine, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA and Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA)

Chapter 13. Bacterial Capsular Polysaccharides of Pathogens – A Toolbox for Vaccines and Therapeutics
(Vamsee Veeramachineni, PhD, Shonoi A. Ming, PhD, Justine Vionnet, and Willie F. Vann, PhD – Laboratory of Bacterial Polysaccharides, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA, Silver Spring, MD, USA)

Chapter 14. Polyvalency of Glycotopes and their Conformational Features in Glycans as the Most Powerful Recognition Factors for the Glycan-Lectin Interactions
(Albert M. Wu – Glycomics Laboratory, College of Medicine, Chang-Gung University, Kwei-san, Taiwan)

Chapter 15. Protein-Glycan Interactions as Revealed by NMR Spectroscopy
(James H. Prestegard – Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens GA, USA)

Chapter 16. Glycobioinformatics in Deciphering the Mammalian Glycocode: Recent Advances
(Arun K. Datta, PhD – Department of Engineering and Computing, National University, San Diego, CA, USA and Nitin Sukhija, PhD – Department of Computer Science, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania,
Slippery Rock, PA, USA)

Chapter 17. Is it Time to Switch over to Glyco Molecular Patterns?
(Nicolai V. Bovin, PhD, Polina S. Obukhova, PhD, Oxana E. Galanina, PhD, Nadezhda V. Antipova, PhD, Kira L. Dobrochaeva, Nailia R. Khasbiullina, PhD and Nadezhda V. Shilova, PhD – Shemyakin-Ovchinikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, RAS, Moscow, Russian Federation and National Medical Research Center for Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology named after Academician V.I. Kulakov of the Ministry of Healthcare of Russian Federation, et al.)



“We now know that glycans embed specific information in their 3D structures recognised by other macromolecules. This book provides a wonderful and timely collection of diverse topics on the latest developments in the generation of tools to study glycans, the role of glyco codes in a range of physiological responses in mammals and plants and the impact of altered glycosylation in disease. This will be a highly valuable resource for both beginners and experts in the glycobiology field, a pivotal discipline for biology.” – Paul A. Gleeson, PhD, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

“The diverse compositions and structures of glycans and polysaccharides that modify the majority of intracellular and extracellular proteins have critical functions in most cellular biology from birth to growth, to maintenance of adulthood, to pathologies. This book identifies the very large variety of normal and pathological cellular functions and processes that rely on the glyco structures involved. I highly recommend that researchers, especially young investigators, read the relevant chapters to learn how glycobiology can have a major impact on their ongoing and future research.” – Vincent Hascall, PhD, Biomedical Engineering, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA

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