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Milk oligosaccharides and galectins: Spin-off version - from a glycoscience point of view

Wobbling of substrate recognition caused by a molecular switch in the lactose synthase β4Gal-T1

Tadashi Urashima / Sachiko Sato / Junko Nio-Kobayashi / Jun Hirabayashi

last updated 2021/06/01 (Glycoforum. 2021 Vol.24 (3), A6)

This chapter is a “spin-off” version of “Milk oligosaccharides and Galectins” by Urashima and Hirabayashi, published in the main part of the Galectin series (Vol. 24 [2], A3). Here, we chose a few topics that could not be fully dealt with in the main chapter, thereby aiming to advance discussions about important, but unsolved questions of milk oligosaccharides, in a free and active forum with the extended members. We hope you will enjoy this new forum style.


The branched structure and properties of starch - determined from studies on branching enzymes

Ryuichiro Suzuki / Eiji Suzuki

last updated 2021/06/01 (Glycoforum. 2021 Vol.24 (3), A7)

Starch, a polysaccharide composed of glucose molecules, is formed during photosynthesis by Archaeplastida and is found in staple food crops such as cereals, tubers, and beans. Starch is utilized not just for food and food additive purposes but also for industrial purposes, e.g., in the manufacture of glues and bioplastics. Starch consists of amylose and amylopectin. The primary constituent amylopectin has an orderly branched structure and its structure has an effect on the taste and physicochemical properties of starch. Starch synthase, branching enzyme, and debranching enzyme are involved in amylopectin biosynthesis, but the mechanism controlling the assembly of highly ordered structures remains to be elucidated. Understanding the mechanisms controlling amylopectin’s structure opens up the possibility of designing an amylopectin with a favorable structure and properties. The authors have clarified the mechanism controlling the length of branched chains formed by branching enzymes. In this article, we describe the problems that need to be solved in order to control the structure and properties of amylopectin and recent progress in studies on branching enzymes. The production of structure-controlled amylopectins contributes to the development of our nation by raising the level of its food self-sufficiency and helping it reach the goal of a decarbonized society.


Development of a Highly Functionalized Lactoferrin That Controls Nerve Function: Fusion of Glycan-Binding Ability and Neuroprotective Function

Masao Nakamura

last updated 2021/06/01 (Glycoforum. 2021 Vol.24 (3), A8)

Lactoferrin (LF) is a glycosaminoglycan-binding protein that functions in innate immunity, and it is expected to be useful as a biopharmaceutical product due to its effects on the body. We aim to develop novel therapeutic agents that can promote effective recovery from spinal cord injuries. Through our recent research, we discovered that LF binds to chondroitin sulfate E (CS-E), inhibiting nerve axon outgrowth and neutralizing its toxicity. We have also developed a highly functionalized neuroprotective molecule consisting of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) linked to LF. This paper introduces this highly functionalized LF and discusses its glycan-binding and neuroprotective properties.