Glycosyltransferase-catalyzed synthesis of bioactive oligosaccharides

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Mammalian cell surfaces are all covered with bioactive oligosaccharides which play an important role in molecular recognition events such as immune recognition, cell¿cell communication and initiation of microbial pathogenesis. Consequently, bioactive oligosaccharides have been recognized as a medicinally relevant class of biomolecules for which the interest is growing. For the preparation of complex and highly pure oligosaccharides, methods based on the application of glycosyltransferases are currently recognized as being the most effective. The present paper reviews the potential of glycosyltransferases as synthetic tools in oligosaccharide synthesis. Reaction mechanisms and selected characteristics of these enzymes are described in relation to the stereochemistry of the transfer reaction and the requirements of sugar nucleotide donors. For the application of glycosyltransferases, accepted substrate profiles are summarized and the whole-cell approach versus isolated enzyme methodology is compared. Sialyltransferase-catalyzed syntheses of gangliosides and other sialylated oligosaccharides are described in more detail in view of the prominent role of these compounds in biological recognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-456
JournalBiotechnology Advances
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • engineered escherichia-coli
  • active natural-products
  • one-pot strategies
  • helicobacter-pylori
  • cholera-toxin
  • chemoenzymatic synthesis
  • campylobacter-jejuni
  • fucosyl-transferase
  • crystal-structure
  • cyclodextrin glucanotransferase

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