Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS



Project ID: 293847
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Germany
Domain: Health

Glycosylation monitoring advances

Structural characterisation of biomolecules is of paramount importance to understand cellular processes. European scientists developed an ultra-sensitive method for analysing glycosylation protein patterns in health and disease.
Glycosylation monitoring advances
Glycosylation – the addition of sugar moieties – constitutes an important method for post-translational modification of proteins. Glycoproteins participate in cell-to-cell recognition as well as in cell communication. Accumulating evidence indicates that certain diseases are associated with alterations in glycosylation patterns, suggesting their utility as diagnostic biomarkers.

Despite the emerging importance of glycoproteins, the available technology and tools for recognising glycans are still at their infancy. Given the requirement for specific analytical measures to study glycoproteins, the EU-funded GLYCOPROTEOMICS (Quantitative glycomics and glycoproteomics for biomarker discovery) project implemented a multidisciplinary approach.

Researchers developed a highly sensitive glycomics approach that combined nanoscale liquid chromatography with mass spectrometric detection. The method simultaneously detected four different parameters on N- and O-glycans and led to a database of over 350 glycan fingerprints. This approach facilitated the in-depth sequencing of both N- and O-glycans from minimal sample amounts.

Apart from clinical tissues and body fluids, the method was successfully applied to characterise glycans from formalin/paraffin embedded histopathological tissue. A further application of the approach entailed the in-depth characterisation of chemically glycosylated vaccine candidates.

The GLYCOPROTEOMICS method enabled the identification of promising colon cancer glycan signatures as well as an important gastrointestinal tumour marker. Implementation of the approach could extend to a diverse range of diseases including chronic inflammatory diseases that present a major socioeconomic burden.

Insight into the glycosylation profiles of specific proteins could provide novel therapeutic targets, support precision medicine and facilitate the detection of novel biomarkers. In turn, improved diagnosis translates into prompt interventions that could arrest disease progression.

Related information


Glycosylation, glycoproteins, glycan, GLYCOPROTEOMICS, cancer
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