Glycoscience in biology

From humans to bacteria

Carbohydrates are the only one of the four major biomolecules of life that modifies the other three. This is perhaps unsurprising, since glycosylation is well suited for increasing the functional diversity of resulting glycoconjugates. The various monosaccharides found in glycans, coupled with the variability in how they are attached to each other, confers onto glycans incredibly high information content that is reflected in their diverse structures and topologies. This 2016 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting symposium session will focus on how glycosylation impacts biology and how technological advances are providing novel insights into the roles of glycans in basic cellular processes and pathophysiologies.

The emerging role of O-GIcNAc

The first session will highlight the structurally simple yet influential O-GlcNAc modification that modifies hundreds if not thousands of nuclear, mitochondrial and cytosolic proteins. While O-GlcNAc has been associated with myriad biological functions, this session will focus on the emerging role of O-GlcNAc in regulating gene expression. Talks will cover how O-GlcNAc contributes to regulation of RNA Pol II and ChREBP as well as how mutations in OGT associated with X-linked intellectual disability, or XLID, impact the transcriptome.

Structural and enzymological advances

The second session will crystallize recent advances gained primarily by structural biology and enzymology approaches with carbohydrate processing enzymes. New molecular insights into how glycosidases and glycsyltransferases recognize and processes varied glycoconjugates will be discussed.

The power of chemical biology

The third session will highlight the power of chemical biology approaches in glycoscience. Topics to be covered include recent findings regarding comparative and competitive activity-based glycosidase profiling, cotranslational addition of O-GlcNAc to proteins and the use of photoprobes to investigate protein glycosylation within the secretory pathway.

Glycan complexity

The final session will cover the structurally complex glycans found in bacterial glycosylation and the microbiome. Recent data regarding glycan-dependent interactions between host gut and bacteria including pathogenic processes will be described.


David Vocadlo

David Vocadlo, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia

Lance Wells

Lance Wells, University of Georgia