Glycosyltransferases as Tools in Cell Biological Studies

  • Robert S. Haltiwanger
  • Gerald W. Hart
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 14)


Complex carbohydrates consist of an amazingly diverse array of highly branched structures (1,2). This branching structure precludes the use of a linear template for assembly, as in the case of protein and nucleic acid biosynthesis. In contrast, the biosynthesis of these molecules is dependent on a series of highly specific enzymes, glycosyltransferases, which elongate growing saccharide chains sequentially (1,2). The product of each reaction becomes the substrate for the next. Thus, these enzymes must specifically recognize the structure of the acceptor carbohydrate and add a monosaccharide in a particular linkage at a precise location. In most cases, one enzyme exists for each glycosidic bond that is formed (3). The high level of specificity displayed by glycosyltransferases allows them to synthesize complex structures with a high degree of fidelity. Regulating this fidelity appears to be crucial for the biological functions of complex carbohydrates in vivo (4).


Sialic Acid Cyanogen Bromide Sugar Nucleotide Saturated Ammonium Sulfate Column Buffer 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert S. Haltiwanger
    • 1
  • Gerald W. Hart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological ChemistryJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimore

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