Biomacromolecules are divided into four categories: nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. Glycobiology, originally coined in the late 1980s, is the study of the structure, biosynthesis, biology, and evolution of sugars (carbohydrates, sugar chains, or glycans) widely distributed in nature. Glycobiology now includes carbohydrate chemistry, enzymology of glycan formation and degradation, recognition of glycans by specific proteins, the role of glycans in complex biological systems, and their analysis or manipulation by various techniques, etc.

Almost all cells and macromolecules in nature carry an array of covalently linked glycans. They regulate or mediate not only cell-cell, cell-matrix, and cell-molecule interactions, but also interactions between host and parasite, pathogen, or symbiont. Therefore, glycans play an important role in living organisms.


Carbohydrates in Diseases

Carbohydrates are closely related to the occurrence and development of many diseases. Congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDGs) are a group of genetic metabolic diseases that have grown rapidly in recent years, caused by abnormal glycosylation of proteins or fats. Since N-glycosylation defects were first described and characterized in 1980, more than 44 types of CDGs have been identified. These CDGs are classified into four classes of defects: protein N-glycosylation (16 CDGs), protein O-glycosylation (8 CDGs), lipid glycosylation and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchored glycosylation (3 CDGs), and multiple glycosylation pathways and other pathways (17 CDGs). We detail four classes of defects associated with CDG. The immune system normally recognizes and responds to foreign carbohydrate epitopes, such as peptidoglycan and lipopolysaccharide. If the protein glycosylation patterns of the host and pathogen overlap, the immune system will still recognize these glycan epitopes, leading to an autoimmune response. Therefore, we also describe autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation caused by abnormal glycosylation, respectively.

CD BioGlyco provides one-stop services from carbohydrate Synthesis and analysis to Glycovaccine and Glycomedicine development to support your scientific research. Here, we introduce some knowledge related to carbohydrates.

Importance of Lectins in the Immune System

Lectins are highly specific binding proteins for carbohydrates on glycoproteins and play a role in recognition at the cellular and molecular levels. The functions of lectins in the immune system, including siglecs (sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-type lectins), galectins, and selectins, will be described in detail.

CD BioGlyco is the leading global service and solution provider for scientific research. We not only provide first-class Carbohydrate Synthesis, Extraction and Purification, and Characterization services. We also provide clients with development services for carbohydrate-based glycomedicines and vaccines. If you are interested in our services, please feel free to contact us for more information.


  1. Cagnoni, A.J.; et al. Turning-off signaling by siglecs, selectins, and galectins: chemical inhibition of glycan-dependent interactions in cancer. Frontiers in oncology. 2016, 6: 109.
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