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Keywords:

  • sulfotransferases;
  • oligosaccharides

Abstract

Structural diversity of the sugar chains attached to proteins and lipids that arises from the variety of combinations of different monosaccharides, different types of linkages, branch formation and secondary modifications, such as sulfation, possesses a large amount of biological information. A number of proteoglycans, glycoproteins, and glycolipids contain sulfated carbohydrates. Their sulfate groups provide a negative charge and play a role in a specific molecular recognition process. The sulfation of oligosaccharides is catalyzed by the Golgi-associated sulfotransferases. Recent success in molecular cloning of these sulfotransferases has brought a breakthrough in the understanding of biological function of sulfated oligosaccharides in a variety of contexts. Investigations on the relationship of sulfated oligosaccharides to human diseases including hereditary deficiency, cancer, inflammation, and infection may provide hints for curing disastrous diseases. © 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Med Res Rev, 22, No. 6, 637–654, 2002; Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI 10.1002/med.10020