Carbohydrates (also known as sugars) are molecules consisting of a basic unit, usually a six-membered ring, containing carbon and oxygen, either alone (monosaccharides) or joined together (disaccharides, oligosaccharides, or polysaccharides). They have various biological functions, including energy storage, protein modification and regulation, and act as structural components of cell membranes.


Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    Bacterial growth and division require remodelling of the cell wall, which generates free peptidoglycan fragments. Here, Moynihan et al. show that Mycobacterium tuberculosis can recycle components of their peptidoglycan, and characterise a crucial enzyme required for this process.

    • Patrick J. Moynihan
    • , Ian T. Cadby
    • , Natacha Veerapen
    • , Monika Jankute
    • , Marialuisa Crosatti
    • , Galina V. Mukamolova
    • , Andrew L. Lovering
    •  & Gurdyal S. Besra
  • Research | | open

    In-depth characterization of complex glycomes is complicated by the immense structural diversity of glycans. Here, the authors present a mass spectrometry-based strategy for untargeted, sensitive glycan profiling and identify 167 N-glycan compositions in total human plasma.

    • Guinevere S. M. Lageveen-Kammeijer
    • , Noortje de Haan
    • , Pablo Mohaupt
    • , Sander Wagt
    • , Mike Filius
    • , Jan Nouta
    • , David Falck
    •  & Manfred Wuhrer
  • Research |

    Sulfation of chondroitin sulfate and heparan sulfate dictates their abilities to promote axon growth via regulating the binding to the phosphatase PTPRσ and the consequences on phosphorylation of the cortactin component of the autophagy machinery.

    • Kazuma Sakamoto
    • , Tomoya Ozaki
    • , Yen-Chun Ko
    • , Cheng-Fang Tsai
    • , Yuanhao Gong
    • , Masayoshi Morozumi
    • , Yoshimoto Ishikawa
    • , Kenji Uchimura
    • , Satomi Nadanaka
    • , Hiroshi Kitagawa
    • , Medel Manuel L. Zulueta
    • , Anandaraju Bandaru
    • , Jun-ichi Tamura
    • , Shang-Cheng Hung
    •  & Kenji Kadomatsu
  • Research |

    The availability of Lewis antigens allows the investigation of their important biological functions, but site-specific fucosylation for their synthesis is challenging. This work reports an enzymatic platform for the synthesis of complex Lewis antigens, offering an opportunity to explore the Lewis antigen related glycome.

    • Jinfeng Ye
    • , Hui Xia
    • , Na Sun
    • , Chang-Cheng Liu
    • , Anran Sheng
    • , Lianli Chi
    • , Xian-Wei Liu
    • , Guofeng Gu
    • , Shu-Qi Wang
    • , Jie Zhao
    • , Ping Wang
    • , Min Xiao
    • , Fengshan Wang
    •  & Hongzhi Cao
    Nature Catalysis 2, 514-522
  • Research | | open

    Bacteroidetes genomes contain polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs), each of which encodes enzymes for the breakdown of one particular glycan. By analyzing the enzyme composition of 13,537 PULs, the authors suggest that the natural glycan diversity is orders of magnitude lower than previously proposed.

    • Pascal Lapébie
    • , Vincent Lombard
    • , Elodie Drula
    • , Nicolas Terrapon
    •  & Bernard Henrissat

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    The biological functions of glycan motifs such as the Lewis blood antigens are often defined by their precise multivalent presentation on complex glycoconjugates, making synthesis particularly challenging. Access to a number of positionally defined Lewis motifs on natural polysaccharide scaffolds has now been achieved using bacterial glycosyltransferases.

    • Kun Huang
    •  & Sabine L Flitsch
    Nature Catalysis 2, 479-480
  • News and Views |

    Scientists have combined functional and computational analysis to predict the substrate specificity of a family of glycosyltransferases from Arabidopsis thaliana, creating a tool that enables researchers to classify the donor and acceptor specificity of glycosyltransferase enzymes.

    • Jochen Schmid
    Nature Chemical Biology 14, 1071-1072
  • News and Views |

    Cell walls made mainly of polysaccharides are a distinguishing feature of plants. They play key roles in adaptation today and during pivotal evolutionary events, such as colonization of dry land and development of a water-conducting vascular system. A critical enzyme involved in cell wall biosynthesis has now been identified.

    • Peter Ulvskov
    •  & Henrik V. Scheller
    Nature Plants 4, 635-636