Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Glycoconjugates in Cell Function and Therapeutics

  • Elizabeth HounsellEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_98-1



The “glyco” part (see “Carbohydrate Nomenclature”, “Glycoproteins”, “Glycan-to-Protein Linkages”, “Glycosphingolipids”, “Mucin Biophysics”, and “Proteoglycans”) of proteins and lipids inside the cell, at the cell surface, in the extracellular matrix, and on secreted proteins is made up of oligosaccharides that form a hydrodynamic shell and also have many specific functions in recognition.


In the past this shell has been called the glycocalyx suggesting a coating of cells by glycosylation. Thus the typical O- and N-linked oligosaccharide structures of glycoproteins (“Glycoproteins”; “Glycan-to-Protein Linkages”) can be considered the first signals to be seen in cell-cell interactions and are targets of cell regulation. Most secreted glycoproteins have such typical O- and N-glycosylation, but as reviewed, for example, in Brooks et al. (2002), there are many more unusual glycosylation patterns for...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonLondonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Elizabeth Hounsell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological and Chemical SciencesBirkbeck College, University of LondonLondonUK