Carbohydrate moieties as vaccine candidates

Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Sep 1;41(5):705-12. doi: 10.1086/432582. Epub 2005 Jul 25.


Carbohydrate epitopes or glycotopes are structurally diverse, occur in a variety of chemical contexts, and are present on the surfaces of cells in the body and on the surfaces of pathogens. These various structures and modes of presentation affect how they are perceived and processed by the body and dictate the outcome of the immune response directed against them. This review focuses on mechanisms of carbohydrate immunity, with an emphasis on carbohydrate vaccines that have been or are being developed for protection against encapsulated bacterial pathogens. We discuss the cellular basis of carbohydrate immunity, newly identified glycotope processing pathways and recognition capabilities, and the synthetic and microarray technologies that are being developed that will permit new experimental approaches to carbohydrate vaccine development and the exploration of the interaction of the immune system with self and nonself glycans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Bacterial Vaccines / immunology*
  • Carbohydrates / immunology*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Humans


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Carbohydrates
  • Epitopes