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BMB Reports  2012 

Glycoscience aids in biomarker discovery

Keywords: Biomarker , Glycomics , Glycoproteomics , Glycosylation , Mass spectrometry

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Abstract:

The glycome consists of all glycans (or carbohydrates) within abiological system, and modulates a wide range of important biologicalactivities, from protein folding to cellular communications.The mining of the glycome for disease markers representsa new paradigm for biomarker discovery; however, this effortis severely complicated by the vast complexity and structuraldiversity of glycans. This review summarizes recent developmentsin analytical technology and methodology as applied tothe fields of glycomics and glycoproteomics. Mass spectrometricstrategies for glycan compositional profiling are described, as arepotential refinements which allow structure-specific profiling.Analytical methods that can discern protein glycosylation at aspecific site of modification are also discussed in detail.Biomarker discovery applications are shown at each level ofanalysis, highlighting the key role that glycoscience can play inhelping scientists understand disease biology.

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