Glycochemistry: Overview and progress

Matthew Schombs, Jacquelyn Gervay-Hague

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter provides an overview of the evolution of glycan chemistry from the time of Emil Fischer to the burgeoning field of glycomics. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) defines glycan as 'synonymous with polysaccharides', meaning compounds consisting of a large number of monosaccharides linked to each other through glycosidic bonds. The term 'glycan' is used to describe the carbohydrate portion of glycoconjugates such as glycoproteins and glycolipids. While carbohydrate chemistry has enjoyed remarkable progress, the search for alternative glycosylation strategies for the synthesis of biologically important compounds is an ongoing endeavor. The efforts of chemists and biologists combined with recent advances in spectroscopic techniques will yield answers to many of the questions surrounding the structure and function of glycans and the microdomains in which they reside. The structural complexity and numerous isoforms found in naturally occurring glycans pose significant challenges in isolating pure and homogeneous samples of glycolipids, glycoconjugates, and glycoproteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlycochemical Synthesis: Strategies and Applications
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9781119006435
ISBN (Print)9781118299845
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Carbohydrate chemistry
  • Emil Fischer
  • Glycan chemistry
  • Glycoconjugates
  • Glycoproteins
  • Glycosidic bonds
  • Glycosylation strategies
  • Monosaccharides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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