Sialylation Pathway

What Is Sialylation?

Definition: Sialylation is the process by which sialic acid groups are introduced onto molecules such as oligosaccharides and carbohydrates as the terminal monosaccharide.

Sialylation Pathway Overview

Sialylation of proteins

This process is key to a number of cellular functions such as signal recognition and cell adhesion. Glycoprotein function, stability, and metabolism in particular are dependent upon correct sialylation.

What is Sialic Acid?

Sialic acid is a general term for N or O substituted derivatives of neuraminic acid (a 9-carbon backbone monosaccharide) which are widely expressed terminal carbohydrates on cell surface glycoproteins and glycolipids of eukaryotic cells.

N-glycolylneuraminic and N-acetylneuraminic acid

There are two common mammalian sialic acids: N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac) and N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) which are synthesised by 4 consecutive reactions from UDP-N-acetylglucosamine.

The bi-functional enzyme UDP-N-acetylglucosamine-2-epimerase/N-acetylmannosamine kinase (UDP-GlcNAc 2-epimerase) performs the first two key reactions of sialic acid biosynthesis.

Due to the abundant presence on the surface of eukaryotic cells, sialic acids play key roles in several pathophysiological processes including; metastasis, tumour progression, inflammation and viral infection.

Examples of popular knockout cell lines
Experimental validation
Staining using fluorescein-labelled Sambucus nigra (SNA) is impacted in CMAS and SLC35A1 knockout cell lines. Cells were washed with PBS, fixed with 4% paraformaldehyde and stained with fluorescein-labelled SNA lectin (Vector Labs). HAP1 wild-type cells were compared to cells bearing a frameshift mutation in CMAS or SLC35A1

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