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. ...and more


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. ...and more

Chemical Synthesis of Small Cyclodextrins Utilizing Bridged Pyranose Ring

Shinnosuke Wakamori

last updated 2021/04/01 (Glycoforum. 2021 Vol.24 (2), A5)  

Cyclodextrins (CDs) are cyclic oligomers of α-1,4-D-glucopyranoside. Because the central cavities of CDs can be used to encapsulate small molecules, cyclic hexamer to octamer (CD6–8) have been widely used. While CD-hundreds are known for large CDs, the synthesis of the only CD5 had been only one reported for small CDs. Smaller CDs, such as CD4 and CD3, have never been synthesized because their molecular sizes are too small for the pyranose ring to adopt a stable chair-type conformation. In this report, we describe the chemical synthesis of both CD4 and CD3. The development of a specific bridging group between the 3- and 6-oxygen positions (O-3 and O-6) of D-glucose led to the successful synthesis of these compounds. In other words, the adoption of this bridging group provides both the stereoselective glycosylation reaction and the supple conformation of the pyranose ring, which are required for the synthesis of CD4 and CD3. ...and more

Cellulose Synthase: A Molecule Machinery for Structural Control of Polymers in Aqueous Solvents at Ambient Temperature and Pressure

Tomoya Imai

last updated 2021/04/01 (Glycoforum. 2021 Vol.24 (2), A4)  

Cellulose is a natural polysaccharide, and is functionally classified as a structural polysaccharide. Its superior strength is attributed to the fact that it is composed of multiple molecular chains, and it has a structure known as cellulose I crystal that exhibits a high crystalline modulus. The fact that such an agglomeration of polymers can be synthesized by enzymatic proteins suggests that cellulose biosynthesis is a mechanism designed to synthesize the strongest possible structure by controlling the polymer chains at ambient temperature and pressure in aqueous solvents. In comparison with the typical formation process for general-purpose polymers, which involves high temperature, high pressure, and harsh solvents, the enzyme cellulose synthase possesses an extremely sophisticated “green” mechanism for controlling polymer structure.
In this paper, I will describe efforts to reconstitute the cellulose-synthesizing activity of cellulose synthase, the mechanism of which we have been seeking to elucidate for more than 10 years. ...and more

Glycan-hydrolyzing enzymes link plants

Ken-ichi Kurotani / Michitaka Notaguchi

last updated 2021/02/01 (Glycoforum. 2021 Vol.24 (1), A2)  

Grafting is a technique for cultivating plants that combines the advantages of two different plant species, and it has been used as an agricultural technique since ancient times. The cell wall surrounding the plant cell is an extracellular matrix composed of multiple polysaccharides, the composition of which depends on the plant species. Grafting is thought to occur when the cell walls of two grafted plants are reconstituted at their boundaries, resulting in cell or tissue adhesion. In this article, we will introduce the mechanism of artificial plant grafting and the similarity between grafting in nature and grafting in plants, focusing on the function of digestive enzymes of cellulose, the main component of cell walls. ...and more

Frontal affinity chromatography: A champion method to study informational glycans(Glycoforum. 2020 Vol.23 (2), A7)
Kenichi Kasai
Applications of chitin and chitosan for wound healing(Glycoforum. 2020 Vol.23 (2), A6)
Kazuo Azuma
A saccharide primer method as a novel tool for glycomics(Glycoforum. 2020 Vol.23 (1), A3)
Toshinori Sato
Functional regulation of glucose assimilation by N-glycan-binding activities of pancreatic α-amylase(2019 Vol.22 (4), A11)
Kimie Date
Insights into the key roles of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in cancer biology(2019 Vol.22 (3), A8)
Satomi Nadanaka / Hiroshi Kitagawa
Transition and Future Perspectives in Chitin and Chitosan Research(2019 Vol.22 (2), A6)
Hiroshi Seo
Synthetic development of keratan sulfate-related ligand of C-type lectin Langerin, and its anti-inflammatory effects(2019 Vol.22 (1), A3)
Yasuhiko Kizuka / Naoyuki Taniguchi