Chapter 4. Evolutionary Considerations in Studying the Sialome: Sialic Acids and the Host–Pathogen Interface

  1. Claus-Wilhelm von der Lieth2,
  2. Thomas Lütteke3 and
  3. Martin Frank2
  1. Amanda L. Lewis and
  2. Ajit Varki

Published Online: 13 NOV 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470029619.ch4

Bioinformatics for Glycobiology and Glycomics: An Introduction

Bioinformatics for Glycobiology and Glycomics: An Introduction

How to Cite

Lewis, A. L. and Varki, A. (2009) Evolutionary Considerations in Studying the Sialome: Sialic Acids and the Host–Pathogen Interface, in Bioinformatics for Glycobiology and Glycomics: An Introduction (eds C.-W. von der Lieth, T. Lütteke and M. Frank), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470029619.ch4

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Molecular Structure Analysis Core Facility, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (German Cancer Research Center), Heidelberg, Germany

  2. 3

    Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Biochemistry and Endocrinology, Justus-Liebig University Gießen, Gießen, Germany

Author Information

  1. Glycobiology Research and Training Center, Departments of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 NOV 2009
  2. Published Print: 11 DEC 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470016671

Online ISBN: 9780470029619

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Keywords:

  • sialic acid;
  • red queen effect;
  • mimicry;
  • carbohydrate;
  • pathogenesis;
  • infection;
  • phylogeny;
  • lectin;
  • database

Summary

Sialic acids (Sias) are a family of acidic 9-carbon backbone monosaccharides found at terminal positions of glycan chains in mammals. While Sias are required for critical intrinsic functions of mammals, they are also of particular significance at the host-pathogen interface, where they can be exploited or mimicked by pathogenic microbes. Here we discuss ongoing studies related to the functional and evolutionary significance of sialic acids on host-pathogen interactions. To place these interactions in a broader context, we consider the diversity, distribution, biosynthesis, and evolution of Sias. We also review common glycan analysis techniques that can result in loss of Sias or Sia modifications and finally suggest a “Sialome” project for archiving information about Sias in nature.