Mammalian Glycosyltransferases

Their Role in the Synthesis and Function of Complex Carbohydrates and Glycolipids
  • Harry Schachter
  • Saul Roseman


The general process for the synthesis of complex carbohydrates is that of transglycosylation:
$${\text{G - O - R}}_{\text{1}} {\text{ + R}}_{\text{2}} {\text{ - OH}} \rightleftharpoons {\text{G - O - R}}_{\text{2}} {\text{ + R}}_{\text{1}} {\text{ - OH}}$$
G—O—R1 is the glycosyl donor which is usually a sugar phosphate compound such as a sugar nucleotide. R2—OH is the acceptor, which can be an alcohol, a sugar phosphate, a monosaccharide, or an oligosac-charide. The discovery of glycogen synthetase by Leloir and Cardini (1957) established the role of sugar nucleotides in complex carbohydrate assembly in vivo; phosphorylase was seen to play a catabolic role under physiologic conditions. Sugar nucleotides are, from a thermodynamic point of view, superior donors for complex carbohydrate assembly; these “high-energy” compounds are now known to be the glycosyl donors involved in glycoprotein and glycosphingolipid biosynthesis (see Part B of this chapter).


Sialic Acid Blood Group Cholera Toxin Sugar Nucleotide Bovine Colostrum 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry Schachter
    • 1
  • Saul Roseman
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryHospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Biology and the McCollum Pratt InstituteThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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