Sialoglycans in protozoal diseases: their detection, modes of acquisition and emerging biological roles

Glycoconj J. 2004;20(3):199-206. doi: 10.1023/B:GLYC.0000024251.30100.08.


Protozoan parasites including Plasmodia, Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Entamoeba, Trichomonas and others cause diseases in humans and domestic livestock having far-reaching socio-economic implications. They show remarkable propensity to survive within hostile environments encountered during their life cycle, and the identification of molecules that enable them to survive in such milieu is a subject of intense research. Currently available knowledge of the parasite cell surface architecture and biochemistry indicates that sialic acid and its principle derivatives are major components of the glycocalyx and assist the parasite to interact with its external environment through functions ranging from parasite survival, infectivity and host-cell recognition. This review highlights the present state of knowledge with regard to parasite sialobiology with an emphasis on its mode(s) of acquisition and their emerging biological roles, notably as an anti-recognition molecule thereby aiding the pathogen to evade host defense mechanisms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Protozoan Infections / metabolism*
  • Protozoan Infections / parasitology*
  • Sialic Acids / metabolism
  • Sialoglycoproteins / analysis
  • Sialoglycoproteins / metabolism*


  • Sialic Acids
  • Sialoglycoproteins