Glycoconjugate Journal

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 495–503 | Cite as

Aglycone modulation of glycolipid receptor function

  • C. A. Lingwood
Mini Review


The aglycone has been largely ignored in consideration of glycoconjugate function. Evidence is reviewed which suggests that the role of the lipid in glycolipid carbohydrate function may be particularly significant. The lipid moiety can promote or reduce carbohydrate exposure of membrane glycolipids. Theoretical calculation has indicated that the plane of the plasma membrane can restrict the permitted conformations of a given glycolipid oligosaccharide. Thus the lipid moiety may influence the relative conformation of such carbohydrate sequences. Evidence of ceramide regulation of glycolipid function can be found in studies of enzyme substrate specificity, antiglycolipid recognition and bacterial/host cell interactions. Studies of verotoxin binding to its glycolipid receptor globotriaosyl ceramide indicate that modulation of receptor function by glycolipid fatty acid content plays an important role inin vitro binding assays, cell cytotoxicity and intracellular routing.


carbohydrate conformation glycolipid heterogeneity verotoxin binding 


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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. A. Lingwood
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada

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