Enzymatic glycosylation of multivalent scaffolds
The design of glycoclusters, glycodendrimers, glycopolymers and other complex glycostructures that mimic the multivalent carbohydrate display on the cell surface is of immense interest for diagnosis and therapy. This review presents a detailed insight into the exciting possibilities of multiple glycosylation using enzymes, particularly glycosyltransferases (EC 2.4). A representative choice of available scaffolds for the enzyme action is practically infinite and comprises synthetic polymers, carbosilane dendrimers, multiantennary glycans or hyperbranched conjugates. The introduced glyco-patterns range from common sialyl Lewisx and sialyl lacto-chains to chemically functionalized carbohydrate units for detection purposes. The possibilities of in vitro enzymatic production of N- and O-glycans and other natural polymers are also discussed. In harmony with their natural tasks, glycosyltransferases may in vitro complete the imperfect glycosylation pattern of proteins, recombinantly produced in pro- and eukaryotic hosts. What is more, the required enzymatic battery may be directly co-expressed with the protein, in order to elegantly accomplish the production of eukaryotic glycans. Ingenious metabolic labeling enables facile imaging of glycostructures. The boom of glycoarray technology opens vast possibilities in high-throughput screening for novel enzymes and substrate specificities as well as in the synthesis. Though there is still a long way until the Nature's ideal of multivalent glycans is achievable in the laboratory, the sketched pathways to multivalent glycostructures open tremendous possibilities for the future glycobiological research.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Multivalent scaffolds in glycosciences