The biology of carbohydrates, or glycobiology, is attracting growing attention in high impact research areas (neurobiology, development, immunology), and also in applied fields such as manufacturing of biotherapeutics and antibodies, and heparin analogs. Carbohydrates attached to glycolipids or glycoproteins determine the properties and fates of living cells, therefore the structural characterization of glycans and glycosylated proteins plays a crucial role in elucidating central biological processes.
Glycoproteins and other glycoconjugates are structurally diverse and virtually impossible to predict from genetic information alone. Analytical tools, including specific enzymes such as endoglycosidases and exoglycosidases, along with chromatography, mass spectrometry methods and specialized bioinformatics, allow us to define the composition of glycoconjugates in any given model system. However, descriptive analysis only gives a snapshot of the biological process of interest. In many cases, purifying a target from a recombinant expression system is the preferred method to understand the functional properties of a glycoprotein.
Learn about glycobiology and its importance in clinical and diagnostic applications in this episode of NEB TV. Also, hear more about how NEB is setting the bar for product quality in this rapidly growing field.
Learn about the core sequences and common modifications of N-linked and O-linked glycans in this video. Analysis of these glycans can be accomplished with the use of deglycosylation enzymes, which can provide complete sugar removal with no protein degradation.