Scripps California Research scientists develop new tools to unveil mystery of the ‘glycome’ « Florida Biotechnology News | Viruses, Immunology & Bioinformatics from Virology.uvic.ca | Scoop.it

Scripps California scientists have developed chemical compounds that can make key modifications to common sugar molecules (“glycans”), found on the surface of all cells in our body. The new study presents powerful new tools for studying these molecules’ function, for example in cell signaling and immunity, and for investigating new treatments for chronic inflammation, autoimmune diseases, cancer metastasis, and related conditions.
The new study, Global metabolic inhibitors of sialyl- and fucosyltransferases remodel the glycome, which appears in Nature Chemical Biology, describes compounds that selectively block the attachment to the cell of two types of sugar building blocks, sialic acid and fucose, which are found at the tips of cell surface glycans and can be critical to cell function.
“We’ve developed the first compounds that can easily get into cells and selectively shut down the enzymes that decorate glycans with sialic acid or fucose,” said Scripps Research Professor James C. Paulson, the senior author of the new report.