The effect of individual N-glycans on enzyme activity

Bioorg Med Chem. 2009 Apr 1;17(7):2645-53. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2009.02.037. Epub 2009 Feb 25.


In a series of investigations, N-glycosylation has proven to be a key determinant of enzyme secretion, activity, binding affinity and substrate specificity, enabling a protein to fine-tune its activity. In the majority of cases elimination of all putative N-glycosylation sites of an enzyme results in significantly reduced protein secretion levels, while removal of individual N-glycosylation sites often leads to the expression of active enzymes showing markedly reduced catalytic activity, with the decreased activity often commensurate with the number of glycosylation sites available, and the fully deglycosylated enzymes showing only minimal activity relative to their glycosylated counterparts. On the other hand, several cases have also recently emerged where deglycosylation of an enzyme results in significantly increased catalytic activity, binding affinity and altered substrate specificity, highlighting the very unique and diverse roles that individual N-glycans play in regulating enzyme function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Enzymes / chemistry
  • Enzymes / genetics
  • Enzymes / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Glycosylation
  • Polysaccharides / genetics
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Stability
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Enzymes
  • Glycoproteins
  • Polysaccharides