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Advances in understanding glycosyltransferases from a structural perspective

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Glycosyltransferases (GTs), the enzymes that catalyse glycosidic bond formation, create a diverse range of saccharides and glycoconjugates in nature. Understanding GTs at the molecular level, through structural and kinetic studies, is important for gaining insights into their function. In addition, this understanding can help identify those enzymes which are involved in diseases, or that could be engineered to synthesize biologically or medically relevant molecules. This review describes how structural data, obtained in the last 3-4 years, have contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms of action and specificity of GTs. Particular highlights include the structure of a bacterial oligosaccharyltransferase, which provides insights into N-linked glycosylation, the structure of the human O-GlcNAc transferase, and the structure of a bacterial integral membrane protein complex that catalyses the synthesis of cellulose, the most abundant organic molecule in the biosphere.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-141
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Early online date19 Sep 2014
StatePublished - Oct 2014

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