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The lectin microarray is a novel platform for glycan analysis, having emerged only in recent years. Unlike other conventional methods, e.g., liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, it enables rapid and high-sensitivity profiling of complex glycan features without the need for liberation of glycans. Target samples include an extensive range of glycoconjugates involved in cells, tissues, body fluids, as well as synthetic glycans and their mimics. Various procedures for rapid differential glycan profiling have been developed for glycan-related biomarkers. Such glycoproteomics targeting allows precise diagnosis of chronic diseases potentially related to cancer. Application of this method to evaluation of various types of stem cells resulted in the discovery of a new pluripotent cell-specific glycan marker. To explore this technology a more fundamental and extensive understanding of lectins is necessary in relation to the structural uniqueness of glycans. In this chapter, the essence of the lectin microarray is described with some focus on an evanescent-field-activated fluorescence detection principle as a system to achieve in situ (i.e., washing free) aqueous-phase observation under equilibrium conditions. The developed lectin microarray system allows even researchers with poor experience in glycan profiling to perform extensive high-throughput analysis targeting various forms of glycans and even cells.
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