Reference work entry
An acidic sugar such as N-acetylneuraminate or N-glycolylneuroaminate; it is present in the gangliosides (see Fig. S53). Polysialic acid is involved in cell and tissue type differentiation, learning, memory, and tumor biology. The synthesis is mediated by polysialyl transferase under the regulation of neural cell adhesion molecules. The recessive sialic acid storage diseases (e.g., Salla disease, 6q14-q15) involve hypotonia and cerebellar ataxia, while mental retardation is caused by a family of anion/cation symporters.
© Springer Science+Business Media 2008