Metabolic Glycan Labeling Strategy

Metabolic Glycan Labeling Strategy

CD BioGlyco has been committed to sialic acid research for many years and has accumulated rich experience. We are proficient at analyzing sialylated glycans and glycosylation in living cells and animals via metabolic glycan labeling strategy.

Metabolism of Sialic Acids

Sialic acids are a family of acidic nine-carbon monosaccharides widely distributed in higher eukaryotes and some bacteria and play important roles in many physiological and pathological processes, such as regulating cell-ligand interactions. N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) is the most common form of sialic acid. Enzymes play an important role in the metabolism of sialic acids, such as catalyzing the synthesis, removal, and degradation of sialic acids. In the human body, uridine diphosphate (UDP)-N-acetylgalactosamine (GalNAc) 2-epimerase (GNE) catalyzes the conversion of UDP-GlcNAc to N-acetylmannosamine-6-phosphate (ManNAc-6-P) in the cytosol. Then, ManNAc-6-P is sequentially converted to Neu5Ac catalyzed by Neu5Ac-9-phosphate synthase (NANS) and Neu5Ac-9-phosphate phosphatase (NANP). Finally, Neu5Ac is translocated to the nucleus to generate cytidine monophosphate (CMP)-Neu5Ac under the action of 5′-monophosphate-N-acetylneuraminic acid synthetase (CMAS).

The metabolic pathway of sialic acids in mammalian cells.Fig.1 The metabolic pathway of sialic acids in mammalian cells. (Zhou, 2020)

Sialic Acid Metabolic Labeling

The biosynthesis of sialic acids and sialic acid glycoconjugates proceeds via a series of enzymatic reactions, and ManNAc is a key intermediate in this process. Since the enzymes involved in this biological process have broad substrate tolerance and accept some forms of substrate structural modification, sialic acid metabolic labeling is performed using ManNAc analogs. For example, N-azidoacetylmannosamine-tetraacylated (Ac4ManNAz) is used for cell surface sialic acid metabolic labeling. Sialic acid metabolic labeling may reveal novel biomarkers compared to other sialic acid analysis methods. Furthermore, this method selectively labels sialylated glycoconjugates in living animals.

Metabolic labeling of sialylated glycans.Fig.2 Metabolic labeling of sialylated glycans. (Feng, 2013)

Our Services

Metabolic glycans labeling has emerged as a powerful tool for the analysis of sialylated glycans and glycosylation in living cells and animals. This method labels sialylated glycans by introducing bioorthogonal functional group-modified unnatural sialic acids into the sialic acid biosynthetic pathway. At CD BioGlyco, we label sialylated glycans on the cell surface with Ac4ManNAz. At present, Ac4ManNAz has been widely used for sialic acid metabolic labeling, such as sialoglycoprotein expression during megakaryocyte differentiation, sialoglycomic imaging during zebrafish development, single cell metabolic glycan labeling, imaging glycosylation status of cell surface glycoprotein, etc.

Advantages of Us

  • Detailed analysis proposal
  • Rich experience in sialic acid analysis
  • Complete and clear project reports
  • Worry-free after-sales service

CD BioGlyco has extensive experience in the analysis of sialic acids. Our perfect analytical strategies and experienced researchers provide full assurance for our clients' analytical results. If you are interested in our metabolic glycan labeling strategy, please feel free to contact us for more information.


  1. Zhou, X.; et al. Biological functions and analytical strategies of sialic acids in tumor. Cells. 2020, 9(2): 273.
  2. Feng, L.; et al. Bifunctional unnatural sialic acids for dual metabolic labeling of cell-surface sialylated glycans. Journal of the American Chemical Society.
This service is for Research Use Only, not intended for any clinical use.

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