Targeting glycosylation as a therapeutic approach

Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2002 Jan;1(1):65-75. doi: 10.1038/nrd708.


Increased understanding of the role of protein- and lipid-linked carbohydrates in a wide range of biological processes has led to interest in drugs that target the enzymes involved in glycosylation. But given the importance of carbohydrates in fundamental cellular processes such as protein folding, therapeutic strategies that modulate, rather than ablate, the activity of enzymes involved in glycosylation are likely to be a necessity. Two such approaches that use imino sugars to affect glycosylation enzymes now show considerable promise in the treatment of viral infections, such as hepatitis B, and glucosphingolipid storage disorders, such as Gaucher disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Diarrhea Viruses, Bovine Viral / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gaucher Disease / drug therapy*
  • Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Glycosphingolipids / metabolism*
  • Glycosylation / drug effects*
  • HIV / drug effects
  • HIV / metabolism
  • Hepatitis B virus / drug effects
  • Hepatitis B virus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Protein Folding


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Glycoproteins
  • Glycosphingolipids