Advances in understanding and exploiting Siglec-glycan interactions

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2024 Jun:80:102454. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2024.102454. Epub 2024 Apr 16.


Sialic-acid-binding immunoglobulin-type lectins (Siglecs) are a family of cell-surface immunomodulatory receptors that recognize sialic-acid-containing glycans. The majority of Siglecs have an inhibitory motif in their intercellular domain and can regulate the cellular activation of immune cells. Importantly, the immunomodulatory role of Siglecs is regulated by engagement with distinct sialoglycan ligands. However, there are still many unanswered questions about the precise ligand(s) recognized by individual Siglec family members. New tools and approaches to study Siglec-ligand interactions are rapidly filling this knowledge gap. This review provides an overview of recent advances in discovering Siglec ligands as well as the development of approaches to modulate the function of Siglecs. In both aspects, chemical biology approaches are emphasized with a discussion on how these are complementing biochemical and genetic strategies.

Keywords: Carbohydrate; Glycans; Immunomodulation; Sialic acid; Siglecs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Polysaccharides* / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides* / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins* / metabolism


  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins
  • Polysaccharides
  • Ligands