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J Carbohydr Chem. 2012;31(4-6):325-352. Epub 2012 Jul 2.

Photoaffinity probes for studying carbohydrate biology.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-9038.


Carbohydrates and carbohydrate-containing biomolecules engage in binding events that underlie many essential biological processes. Yet these carbohydrate-mediated interactions are often poorly characterized, due to their low affinities and heterogenous natures. The use of photocrosslinking functional groups offers a way to photochemically capture carbohydrate-containing complexes, which can be isolated for further analysis. Here we survey progress in the synthesis and use of carbohydrate-based photoprobes, reagents that incorporate carbohydrates or their analogs, photocrosslinking moieties, and affinity purification handles. Carbohydrate photoprobes, used in combination with modern mass spectrometry methods, can provide important new insights into the cellular roles of carbohydrates and glycosylated molecules.

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