UNIT 17.4 Metabolic Radiolabeling of Animal Cell Glycoconjugates

  1. Sandra Diaz,
  2. Ajit Varki

Published Online: 1 JUL 2009

DOI: 10.1002/0471142727.mb1704s87

Current Protocols in Molecular Biology

Current Protocols in Molecular Biology

How to Cite

Diaz, S. and Varki, A. 2009. Metabolic Radiolabeling of Animal Cell Glycoconjugates. Current Protocols in Molecular Biology. 87:II:17.4:17.4.1–17.4.15.

Author Information

  1. University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUL 2009
  2. Published Print: JUL 2009


Useful information about glycoconjugates can be obtained by labeling their aglycone (noncarbohydrate) portions—e.g., labeling proteins with radioactive amino acids—and then using techniques described elsewhere in this chapter to infer the presence, type, and nature of glycan chains. This unit describes metabolic labeling techniques that provide more specific information about the structure, sequence, and distribution of the sugar chains of glycoconjugates. Following metabolic labeling, the radioactive glycoconjugate of interest is isolated, individual glycosylation sites are identified and separated if necessary, and the labeled glycans are subjected to structural analysis. Curr. Protoc. Mol. Biol. 87:17.4.1-17.4.15. © 2009 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • monosaccharides;
  • radioactivity;
  • pulse-chase;
  • metabolic labeling;
  • specific activity