Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 May 2019
The investigation of the glycan repertoire of several organisms has revealed a wide variation in terms of structures and abundance of glycan moieties. Among the parasites, it is possible to observe different sets of glycoconjugates across taxa and developmental stages within a species. The presence of distinct glycoconjugates throughout the life cycle of a parasite could relate to the ability of that organism to adapt and survive in different hosts and environments. Carbohydrates on the surface, and in excretory-secretory products of parasites, play essential roles in host–parasite interactions. Carbohydrate portions of complex molecules of parasites stimulate and modulate host immune responses, mainly through interactions with specific receptors on the surface of dendritic cells, leading to the generation of a pattern of response that may benefit parasite survival. Available data reviewed here also show the frequent aspect of parasite immunomodulation of mammalian responses through specific glycan interactions, which ultimately makes these molecules promising in the fields of diagnostics and vaccinology.