Advances in the biology and chemistry of sialic acids.

Author(s): Chen X,  Varki A

Journal: ACS Chem Biol

Date: 2010 Feb 19

Major Program(s) or Research Group(s): GLYCO

PubMed ID: 20020717

PMC ID: PMC2825284

Abstract: Sialic acids are a subset of nonulosonic acids, which are nine-carbon alpha-keto aldonic acids. Natural existing sialic acid-containing structures are presented in different sialic acid forms, various sialyl linkages, and on diverse underlying glycans. They play important roles in biological, pathological, and immunological processes. Sialobiology has been a challenging and yet attractive research area. Recent advances in chemical and chemoenzymatic synthesis, as well as large-scale E. coli cell-based production, have provided a large library of sialoside standards and derivatives in amounts sufficient for structure-activity relationship studies. Sialoglycan microarrays provide an efficient platform for quick identification of preferred ligands for sialic acid-binding proteins. Future research on sialic acid will continue to be at the interface of chemistry and biology. Research efforts not only will lead to a better understanding of the biological and pathological importance of sialic acids and their diversity but also could lead to the development of therapeutics.