Carbohydrate Chemistry. State of the art and Challenges for Drug Development
Keywords:Carbohydrate, Chemistry, DRUG
Glycobiology is the study of the structure, function and biology of carbohydrates, also called glycans, which are widely distributed in nature. They are saccharides that can be attached to a wide variety of biological molecules through an enzymatic process called glycosilation necessary to augment their function. These natural compounds consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms
have several roles in living organisms including energy transportation, as well as being the main structural support for plants and arthropods. When combined together to form polymers, in fact, they can function as long-term food storage molecules, protective membranes for organisms and cells, and as the main structural support for plants. Despite the important functions of the four fundamental building blocks of life, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids, glycans have received the least attention from researchers also if, glycobiology is a rapidly growing field with relevance to biomedicine biotechnology and basic research. However, these important polysaccharides, conjugated to lipids or proteins, cover the extracellular side of most cell membranes and are involved in the majority of biological processes at the cellular level, including host defense, cell development and differentiation. Thus, the glycan composition membrane, being species-and tissue-specific, is used as a cellular post code in cell-cell and cell-pathogen recognition.