Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 63, Issue 12, pp 1331–1354 | Cite as

Sialic acid-specific lectins: occurrence, specificity and function

Review

Abstract.

Sialic acids consist of a family of acidic ninecarbon sugars that are typically located at the terminal positions of a variety of glycoconjugates. Naturally occurring sialic acids show an immense diversity of structure, and this reflects their involvement in a variety of biologically important processes. One such process involves the direct participation of sialic acids in recognition events through specific interactions with lectins, a family of proteins that recognise and bind sugars. This review will present a detailed overview of our current knowledge regarding the occurrence, specificity and function of sialic acid-specific lectins, particularly those that occur in viruses, bacteria and non-vertebrate eukaryotes.

Keywords.

Sialic acid lectin sialoglycoconjugate sialic acid-specific lectin adhesin infectious disease immunology 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for GlycomicsGriffith UniversityGold Coast Mail CentreAustralia
  2. 2.School of PharmacyGriffith UniversityGold Coast Mail CentreAustralia

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