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Comparisons of N-glycans across invertebrate phyla

  • Katharina Paschinger (a1) and Iain B. H. Wilson (a1)


Many invertebrates are either parasites themselves or vectors involved in parasite transmission; thereby, the interactions of parasites with final or intermediate hosts are often mediated by glycans. Therefore, it is of interest to compare the glycan structures or motifs present across invertebrate species. While a typical vertebrate modification such as sialic acid is rare in lower animals, antennal and core modifications of N-glycans are highly varied and range from core fucose, galactosylated fucose, fucosylated galactose, methyl groups, glucuronic acid and sulphate through to addition of zwitterionic moieties (phosphorylcholine, phosphoethanolamine and aminoethylphosphonate). Only in some cases are the enzymatic bases and the biological function of these modifications known. We are indeed still in the phase of discovering invertebrate glycomes primarily using mass spectrometry, but molecular biology and microarraying techniques are complementary to the determination of novel glycan structures and their functions.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Author for correspondence: Iain B. H. Wilson, E-mail:


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