Glycosylation in cellular mechanisms of health and disease

Cell. 2006 Sep 8;126(5):855-67. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2006.08.019.


Glycosylation produces an abundant, diverse, and highly regulated repertoire of cellular glycans that are frequently attached to proteins and lipids. The past decade of research on glycan function has revealed that the enzymes responsible for glycosylation-the glycosyltransferases and glycosidases-are essential in the development and physiology of living organisms. Glycans participate in many key biological processes including cell adhesion, molecular trafficking and clearance, receptor activation, signal transduction, and endocytosis. This review discusses the increasingly sophisticated molecular mechanisms being discovered by which mammalian glycosylation governs physiology and contributes to disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endocytosis
  • Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Glycoside Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Glycosylation
  • Glycosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / metabolism*
  • Polysaccharides / biosynthesis
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Protein Transport
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Glycoproteins
  • Lectins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • Glycoside Hydrolases