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"Defined in the broadest sense, Glycobiology is the study of the structure, biosynthesis, and biology of saccharides (sugar chains or glycans) that are widely distributed in nature." [1]. This very general definition is found in the textbook "Essentials of glycobiology" edited by Ajit Varki and several other important pioneers of glycobiology.

Additional recommended knowledge

It is a very rapidly growing field and spreads out in various different medical, biochemical and biotechnological fields due to the broad occurrence of so called glycoconjugates in basically all living beings. In 1988, Rademacher, Parekh and Dwek coined this word to recognize the coming together of the traditional disciplines of carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry due to the modern understanding of the cellular and molecular biology of glycans. The widely accepted term glycobiology also names a major biomedical journal and a continuously growing scientific society.

There are various forms of glycoconjugates: glycoproteins, proteoglycans and glycolipids are the most abundant representatives in mammalian cells. The are found predominantly on the outer cell wall and in secreted fluids. Glycoconjugates have been multiply shown to be important for cell-cell interactions due to their presence on the cell surface, where naturally various glycan binding receptors are located as well.[2],[3]

The general definition of Glycomics is the collectivity of the scientific methods and requirements necessary to study the wholeness of glycoconjugates in a cell. Thus glycomics can be regarded as a major tool to study the glycobiology and function of glycoconjugates.


  1. ^ Varki A, Cummings R, Esko J, Freeze H, Hart G, Marth J (1999). Essentials of glycobiology. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. 
  2. ^ Ma BY, Mikolajczak SA, Yoshida T, Yoshida R, Kelvin DJ, Ochi A (2004). "CD28 T cell costimulatory receptor function is negatively regulated by N-linked carbohydrates". Biochem Biophys Res Commun 317 (1): 60-7. PMID 15047148.
  3. ^ Takahashi M, Tsuda T, Ikeda Y, Honke K, Taniguchi N (2004). "Role of N-glycans in growth factor signaling". Glycoconj J 20 (3): 207-12. PMID 15090734.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Glycobiology". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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