May 2013

Spotlight on glycoscience

lipid homeostasis thematic review series coverThe April issue of Molecular & Cellular Proteomics is devoted to the area of glycoscience. The issue, co-edited by MCP Associate Editor Gerald Hart of Johns Hopkins University and MCP editorial board member Lance Wells at the University of Georgia, explores the fundamental biology of molecules modified with sugars as well as their impact in different diseases. The issue also has articles that delve into the technologies used to analyze glycosylated molecules.
Glycoscience has been growing in sophistication and importance in the past five years. In August, the National Academy of Sciences released a roadmap for glycoscience that described how the field has repercussions in a wide range of areas, including fuels, drug development and materials science. The growth of glycoscience has been driven largely by the development of techniques that can tackle properly these complex and structurally diverse molecules.
But in their editorial introducing the special issue, Hart and Wells point out that, unlike the template-driven synthesis of nucleic acids and proteins, glycosylated structures are made by complex, nontemplate processes. On top of that, carbohydrates can have a variety of linkages that produce branched structures, in contrast with DNA, RNA and proteins, which are made in a more linear fashion. “These two facts generate a considerable challenge to the analytical and bioinformatics community,” wrote Hart and Wells.

MCP-sponsored lectureships

The Human Proteome Organization’s 12th World Congress
Sept. 14–18: Intercontinental Grand Conference Center, Yokohama, Japan.
Associate Editor: Ralph Bradshaw
2013 Annual Meeting for the Society for Glycobiology
Nov. 17–20: Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Associate Editor: Gerald Hart
Lecturer: MCP Co-Editor Al Burlingame

To confront the challenges of studying glycosylated molecules, MCP’s leadership spearheaded the development of guidelines for the publication of mass-spectrometry-based glycomics data. The guidelines, with an accompanying checklist, were the result of a meeting that was held in conjunction with the Warren Workshop for Glyconjugate Analysis in the late summer of 2012. The journal adopted the guidelines and the checklist after extensive input from the glycoscience community. The special issue of the journal contains research papers and reviews written by leading figures in the field of glycoscience, many of whom attended the meeting and contributed to the guidelines.

Rajendrani MukhopadhyayRajendrani Mukhopadhyay ( is the senior science writer and blogger for ASBMB. Follow her on Twitter (, and read her ASBMB Today blog, Wild Types.

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