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Glycosciences glossary & taxonomy

Evolving Terminology for Emerging Technologies
Comments? Questions? Revisions?

Mary Chitty MSLS
Last revised January 09, 2020

Related glossaries include BiomoleculesProteinsSequences, DNA & beyond

carbohydrate sequence: The sequence of carbohydrates within POLYSACCHARIDES, GLYCOPROTEINS, and GLYCOLIPIDS. MeSH, 1980

carbohydrate structure: Wikipedia 

carbohydrates: The largest class of organic compounds, including starches, glycogens, cellulose, gums, and simple sugars. Carbohydrates are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a ratio of Cn(H2O)n. MeSH
Related terms: glycobiology, oligosaccharide, polysaccharides, saccharides, saccharomics

complex carbohydrates: Carbohydrates made of two or more sugars.  Ricki Lewis, "Unraveling complex carbohydrates" Scientist 14 (6): 16, Mar. 20, 2000   Related terms: oligosaccharides, polysaccharides

glycoarrays: Carbohydrate arrays (glycoarrays) have recently emerged as a high-throughput tool for studying carbohydrate-binding proteins and carbohydrate-processing enzymes. A number of sophisticated array platforms that allow for qualitative and quantitative analysis of carbohydrate binding and modification on the array surface have been developed, including analysis by fluorescence spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. Glycoarrays—tools for determining protein–carbohydrate interactions and glycoenzyme specificity Nicolas LaurentJosef VoglmeirSabine L. Flitsch Issue 37, 2008!divAbstract

glycobioinformatics:  a rapidly developing field providing a vital support for MS-based glycoproteomics research. Recent advances in MS greatly increased technological capabilities for high throughput glycopeptide analysis. However, interpreting MS output, in terms of identifying glycan structures, attachment sites and glycosylation linkages still presents multiple challenges. Here, we discuss current strategies used in MS-based glycoproteomics and bioinformatics tools available for MS-based glycopeptide and glycan analysis. We also provide a brief overview of recent efforts in glycobioinformatics such as the new initiative UniCarbKB directed toward developing more comprehensive and unified glycobioinformatics platforms.  Glycobioinformatics: Current strategies and tools for data mining in MS‐based glycop roteomics, Feng Li, Olga V. Glinskii, Vladislav V. Glinsky Proteomics 13(2) 2013 Jan

glycobiology: The objectives of the Society for Glycobiology shall be to promote knowledge, encourage research, and to stimulate personal communications, in an inter- disciplinary sense, using as a common meeting ground an interest in the complex carbohydrates of glycoproteins, glycolipids, glycosaminoglycans, and the biological systems in which they are found. Society for Glycobiology

Includes glycoconjugates (including glycoproteins, glycolipids, proteoglycans or free complex saccharides) or on any aspect of proteins that specifically interact with glycoconjugates (e.g. lectins, glycotransferases, glycosidases). Scope note of Glycobiology, Oxford Univ. Press 

glycoconjugates: A type of compound consisting of carbohydrate units covalently linked with other types of chemical constituents. IUPAC Compendium

Various types of compound consisting of carbohydrates covalently linked with other types of chemical constituent are classified under the general name of glycoconjugates. The major groups of glycoconjugates are the glycoproteins, glycopeptides, peptidoglycans, glycolipids and lipopolysaccharides. [Nomenclature of glycoproteins, glycopeptides and peptidoglycans, IUPAC- IUB Joint Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature, 1985  

glycodendrimers: Multivalent neoglycoconjugates with well-defined structures have considerable potential as inhibitors of cell surface protein-carbohydrate interactions and as tools for studying such recognition processes in vitro. In this review, we outline strategies and synthetic methods for making one such class of neoglycoconjugates based on dendrimers--the so-called glycodendrimers.  Design and synthesis of glycodendrimers. Turnbull WB, Stoddart JF  J Biotechnol. 2002 May;90(3-4):231-55 .

glycoengineering: Delivery of protein therapeutics often requires frequent injections because of low activity or rapid clearance, thereby placing a burden on patients and caregivers. Using glycoengineering, we have increased and prolonged the activity of proteins, thus allowing reduced frequency of administration. Glycosylation analogs with new N-linked glycosylation consensus sequences introduced into the protein were screened for the presence of additional N-linked carbohydrates and retention of in vitro activity. Suitable consensus sequences were combined in one molecule, resulting in glycosylation analogs of rHuEPO, leptin, and Mpl ligand. All three molecules had substantially increased in vivo activity and prolonged duration of action. Because these proteins were of three different classes (rHuEPO is an N-linked glycoprotein, Mpl ligand an O-linked glycoprotein, and leptin contains no carbohydrate), glycoengineering may be generally applicable as a strategy for increasing the in vivo activity and duration of action of proteins. S. Elliott et. al., Enhancement of therapeutic protein in vivo activities through glycoengineering, Nature Biotechnology 21(4): 414- 421, April 2003

glycogenomics: Many glycosylated metabolites are important pharmaceutical agents. Herein, we introduce glycogenomics as a new genome-mining method that links metabolomics and genomics for the rapid identification and characterization of bioactive microbial GNPs. Glycogenomics identifies glycosyl groups in microbial metabolomes by tandem mass spectrometry and links this chemical signature through a glycogenetic code to glycosylation genes in a microbial genome. Glycogenomics as a MS-guided genome mining tool Roland D. Kersten, Nadine Ziemert, David J. Gonzalez, Brendan M.Duggan, Victor Nizet, Pieter C. Dorrestein, Bradley S. Moore Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Nov 2013, 110 (47) E4407-E4416; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1315492110

glycolipids: Any compound containing one or more monosaccharide residues bound by a glycosidic linkage to a hydrophobic moiety such as an acylglycerol (see GLYCERIDES), a sphingoid, a ceramide (CERAMIDES) (N-acylsphingoid) or a prenyl phosphate. MeSH, 1966, from IUPAC's webpage

glycome:  The glycome is the entire complement of sugars, whether free or present in more complex molecules, of an organism. An alternative definition is the entirety of carbohydrates in a cell. The glycome may in fact be one of the most complex entities in nature … "Carbohydrate", "glycan", "saccharide", and "sugar" are generic terms used interchangeably in this context and includes monosaccharidesoligosaccharidespolysaccharides, and derivatives of these compounds. Carbohydrates consist of “hydrated carbon”, i.e. [CH2O]n. Monosaccharides are a carbohydrate that cannot be hydrolyzed into a simpler carbohydrate and are the building blocks of oligosaccharides and polysaccharides. Oligosaccharides are linear or branched chains of monosaccharides attached to one another via glycosidic linkages. The number of monosaccharide units can vary. Polysaccharides are glycans composed of repeating monosaccharides, generally greater than ten monosaccharide units in length.[2] The glycome exceeds the complexity of the proteome as a result of the even greater diversity of the glycome's constituent carbohydrates and is further complicated by the sheer multiplicity of possibilities in the combination and interaction of the carbohydrates with each other and with proteins. "The spectrum of all glycan structures — the glycome — is immense. In humans, its size is orders of magnitude greater than the number of proteins that are encoded by the genome, one percent of which encodes proteins that make, modify, localize or bind sugar chains, which are known as glycans."[3]  Wikipedia accessed 2018 Aug 24

glycomics: the comprehensive study of glycomes (the entire complement of sugars, whether free or present in more complex molecules of an organism), including genetic, physiologic, pathologic, and other aspects.[1][2] Glycomics "is the systematic study of all glycan structures of a given cell type or organism" and is a subset of glycobiology.[3] The term glycomics is derived from the chemical prefix for sweetness or a sugar, "glyco-", and was formed to follow the omics naming convention established by genomics (which deals with genes) and proteomics (which deals with proteins). Wikipedia accessed 2018 Aug 24  Related term: saccharomics

glycomimetics: A new class of small-molecule drugs, known as glycomimetics. These compounds mimic the bioactive function of carbohydrates and address the drawbacks of carbohydrate leads, namely their low activity and insufficient drug-like properties. From carbohydrate leads to glycomimetic drugs Beat Ernst1 & John L. Magnani1  Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 8, 661-677 (August 2009) | doi:10.1038/nrd2852

glyconanotechnology:  Notable advances in the field of nanotechnology have allowed the synthesis of unique nanomaterials for biomedicine. Glyconanotechnology has materialized as an important field by combining the biochemical and biological properties of carbohydrates with that of the unique properties of materials in the nanoscale. Coupled with their nanoscale dimensions, high surface area, and unique electronic, optical and magnetic properties, the chemistry on the surface are carefully tailored for the therapeutic and diagnostic needs of such nano-systems. The use of carbohydrate nanomaterials have proved to be an excellent approach in mimicking biological entities as well as in overcoming toxicity issues and enhancing targeting potentials of such materials. The carbohydrate-mediated molecular recognition is also extensively exploited for better understanding of the dynamic cellular events as well as in the mechanism of uptake and release of potential therapeutic drugs and proteins.  Glyconanotechnology Symposium, World Biomaterials Congress May 2016

glyconomics:  the study of all glycan structures, and relies on the correlation of glycan structure with function by using effective enzymatic and analytical techniques.

This term is used far less often than the related terms glycobiology and glycotechnology. See FAQ question #3 for quantifying methodology. 

glycopeptides: Proteins which contain carbohydrate groups attached covalently to the polypeptide chain. The protein moiety is the predominant group with the carbohydrate making up only a small percentage of the total weight. MeSH, 1973

glycoscience: Carbohydrates play critical roles in nearly every aspect of biology, but the complexity of carbohydrate chemistry makes glycan synthesis, sequencing, and study inaccessible to most biomedical researchers. The Glycoscience program aims to create new methodologies and resources in the study of glycans that are accessible to the broader research community.  NIH Common Fund, Glycoscience
Genes encoding a large number of glycosyltransferases involved in the synthesis of the sugar chains have been cloned, and a systematic analysis of their functions has been promoted. Under these circumstances, studies in glycoscience are being focused on examining the significance of various types of sugar chain structures and elucidating the mechanisms of biological regulation for carbohydrate synthesis In Japan, many studies on complex carbohydrates have long been accomplished by members of the research groups supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (MESSC). "From the Genome Research Era to the Glycome: An interview with Professor Naoyuki Taniguch" Glycoforum, Japan 2000     
Related terms carbohydrates, glycobiology, glycotechnology, oligosaccharide

glycosylation: Wikipedia   Broader term: Proteins Glossary post- translational modifications

glycosylation end products, advanced: Products derived from the nonenzymatic reaction of glucose and proteins in vivo that exhibit a yellow- brown pigmentation and an ability to participate in protein- protein cross- linking. These substances are involved in biological processes relating to protein turnover and it is believed that their excessive accumulation contributes to the chronic complications of diabetes mellitus. MeSH, 1993

glycotechnology:   Glycoconjugates existing on cell surfaces play important roles in development, immunity, and as ligands of various molecules. Our research objective is to investigate the chemical information contained in carbohydrates at the molecular level. Mitsubishi Kagaku Institute of Life Sciences (MITILS) Japan  
Related terms: carbohydrates
, glycobiology, glycoscience, oligosaccharide;  Narrower term: glycotechnology- analytical

lectins: Proteins that share the common characteristic of binding to carbohydrates. Some ANTIBODIES and carbohydrate-metabolizing proteins (ENZYMES) also bind to carbohydrates, however they are not considered lectins. PLANT LECTINS are carbohydrate- binding proteins that have been primarily identified by their hemagglutinating activity (HEMAGGLUTININS). However, a variety of lectins occur in animal species where they serve diverse array of functions through specific carbohydrate recognition. MeSH 2003

National Center for Functional Glycomics:

oligosaccharides:  Carbohydrates consisting of between two and ten MONOSACCHARIDES connected by either an alpha- or beta- glycosidic link. They are found throughout nature in both the free and bound form. MeSH   Includes disaccharides, trisaccharides; Broader term: polysaccharides

polysaccharides:  Compounds consisting of a large number of monosaccharides linked glycosidically. This term is commonly used only for those containing more than ten monosaccharide residues.  Also called glycans. .IUPAC Compendium 

As nouns the difference between carbohydrate and polysaccharide  is that carbohydrate is (organic chemistry|nutrition) a sugar, starch, or cellulose that is a food source of energy for an animal or plant; a saccharide while polysaccharide is (carbohydrate) a polymer made of many saccharide units linked by glycosidic bonds.

proteoglycan:  A subclass of protein in which the carbohydrate units are polysaccharides that contain amino sugars. The protein is glycosylated by one or more (up to about 100) glycosaminoglycans [linear polymers of up to about 2000 repeating disaccharide units. IUPAC Compendium

Glycoproteins which have a very high polysaccharide content. MeSH, 1977  Related terms: glycoscience, polysaccharides.

SAAH Sugar Amino Acid Hybrids: a class of molecules that combine the structural features of carbohydrates and amino acids. Over the years, a variety of naturally occurring SAAHs have been found to display important biological activity. This presentation will describe our efforts in the design and synthesis of unnatural SAAHs by means of combinatorial synthesis. Sugar-Amino Acid Hybrids: A New Structural Motif for Presenting Drug Pharmacophores Dr. Frank Schweizer, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Manitoba Glycomics 2003

saccharides:   Monosaccharides and di-, oligo- and polysaccharides, which are made up of n monosaccharide units linked to each other by a glycosidic bond. Considered by some to be synonymous with carbohydrates. IUPAC Compendium

Glyco resources
GlycoWord, GlycoForum, Japan, 2001, 100+ terms and subjects.  Up- to- the - minute guide to modern glycoscience.
Nomenclature of glycoproteins, glycopeptides and peptidoglycans, IUPAC- IUB Joint Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature, 1985

IUPAC Carbohydrate nomenclature project, 2013  Progress

How to look for other unfamiliar  terms

IUPAC definitions are reprinted with the permission of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

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