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Glycoconjugates are the classification family for carbohydrates – referred to as glycans – which are covalently linked with chemical species such as proteins, peptides, lipids, and other compounds.[1] Glycoconjugates are formed in processes termed glycosylation.

Glycoconjugates are very important compounds in biology and consist of many different categories such as glycoproteins, glycopeptides, peptidoglycans, glycolipids, glycosides, and lipopolysaccharides. They are involved in cell–cell interactions, including cell–cell recognition; in cell–matrix interactions; in detoxification processes.

Generally, the carbohydrate part(s) play an integral role in the function of a glycoconjugate; prominent examples of this are neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and blood proteins where fine details in the carbohydrate structure determine cell binding (or not) or lifetime in circulation.

Although the important molecular species DNA, RNA, ATP, cAMP, cGMP, NADH, NADPH, and coenzyme A all contain a carbohydrate part, generally they are not considered as glycoconjugates.

Glycocojugates is covalent linking of carbohydrates antigens to protein scaffolds with goal of achieving a long term immunological response in body.[2] Immunization with glycoconjugates successfully induced long term immune memory against carbohydrates antigens. Glycoconjugate vaccines was introduced since the 1990s have yielded effective results against influenza and meningococcus.[3]

In 2021 glycoRNAs were observed for the first time.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ Glycoconjugates at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  2. ^ Yanagisawa, Makoto; Yu, Robert K (2007-07-01). "The expression and functions of glycoconjugates in neural stem cells". Glycobiology. 17 (7): 57R–74R. doi:10.1093/glycob/cwm018. ISSN 0959-6658. PMID 17307762.
  3. ^ Jaurigue, Jonnel A.; Seeberger, Peter H. (12 June 2017). "Parasite Carbohydrate Vaccines". Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. 7: 248. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2017.00248. PMC 5467010. PMID 28660174.
  4. ^ Flynn, Ryan A.; Pedram, Kayvon; Malaker, Stacy A.; Batista, Pedro J.; Smith, Benjamin A. H.; Johnson, Alex G.; George, Benson M.; Majzoub, Karim; Villalta, Peter W.; Carette, Jan E.; Bertozzi, Carolyn R. (2021-06-10). "Small RNAs are modified with N-glycans and displayed on the surface of living cells". Cell. 184 (12): 3109–3124.e22. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2021.04.023. ISSN 0092-8674. PMID 34004145.
  5. ^ University, Stanford (2021-05-17). "Stanford study reveals new biomolecule". Stanford News. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  6. ^ "Newly Discovered Glycosylated RNA Is All Over Cells: Study". The Scientist Magazine®. Retrieved 2021-08-31.