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Varki A, Cummings RD, Esko JD, et al., editors. Essentials of Glycobiology [Internet]. 3rd edition. Cold Spring Harbor (NY): Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 2015-.

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Essentials of Glycobiology [Internet]. 3rd edition.

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Appendix 1BSymbol Nomenclature for Glycans (SNFG)

Created: ; Last Update: August 31, 2016.

Click on a symbol to link to the corresponding PubChem entry. Right/Control click to copy a symbol, along with the embedded PubChem URL. Symbols can also be copied and pasted into slide presentation files, but URLs are then only accessible in the display mode.

Downloadable files: Drawing format, Text format, Examples

Citation for Figure Legends/Methods Sections in papers using these symbols: "Monosaccharide symbols follow the Symbol Nomenclature for Glycans (SNFG) system (PMID 26543186, Glycobiology 25: 1323–1324, 2015)"

3D-Symbol Nomenclature for Glycans (3D-SNFG)

Appendix 52A. Organizations and Publications Adopting SNFG

Table 1.

Monosaccharide symbol nomenclature

SHAPEWhite
(Generic)
BlueGreenYellowOrangePinkPurpleLight BlueBrownRed
Filled CircleImage symbolnomenclature-Image001.jpg
Hexose
Symbol for D-glucose
Glc
Symbol for D-mannose
Man
Symbol for D-galactose
Gal
Symbol for D-gulose
Gul
Symbol for L-altrose
Alt
Symbol for D-allose
All
Symbol for D-talose
Tal
Symbol for L-idose
Ido
Filled SquareImage symbolnomenclature-Image010.jpg
HexNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-D-glucosamine
GlcNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-D-mannosamine
ManNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-D-galactosamine
GalNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-D-gulosamine
GulNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-L-altrosamine
AltNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-D-allosamine
AllNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-D-talosamine
TalNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-L-idosamine
IdoNAc
Crossed SquareImage symbolnomenclature-Image019.jpg
Hexosamine
Symbol for D-glucosamine
GlcN
Symbol for D-mannosamine
ManN
Symbol for D-galactosamine
GalN
Symbol for D-gulosamine
GulN
Symbol for L-altrosamine
AltN
Symbol for D-allosamine
AllN
Symbol for D-talosamine
TalN
Symbol for L-idosamine
IdoN
Divided DiamondImage symbolnomenclature-Image028.jpg
Hexuronate
Symbol for D-glucuronic acid
GlcA
Symbol for D-mannuronic acid
ManA
Symbol for D-galacturonic acid
GalA
Symbol for D-guluronic acid
GulA
Symbol for L-altruronic acid
AltA
Symbol for D-alluronic acid
AllA
Symbol for D-taluronic acid
TalA
Symbol for L-iduronic acid
IdoA
Filled TriangleImage symbolnomenclature-Image037.jpg
Deoxyhexose
Symbol for D-quinovose
Qui
Symbol for L-rhamnose
Rha
Symbol for 6-deoxy-L-altrose
6dAlt
Symbol for 6-deoxy-D-talose
6dTal
Symbol for L-fucose
Fuc
Divided TriangleImage symbolnomenclature-Image043.jpg
DeoxyhexNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-D-quinovosamine
QuiNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-L-rhamnosamine
RhaNAc
Symbol for N-acetyl-L-fucosamine
FucNAc
Flat RectangleImage symbolnomenclature-Image047.jpg
Di-deoxyhexose
Symbol for Olivose
Oli
Symbol for Tyvelose
Tyv
Symbol for Abequose
Abe
Symbol for Paratose
Par
Symbol for D-digitoxose
Dig
Symbol for Colitose
Col
Filled StarImage symbolnomenclature-Image054.jpg
Pentose
Symbol for L-arabinose
Ara
Symbol for D-lyxose
Lyx
Symbol for D-xylose
Xyl
Symbol for D-ribose
Rib
Filled DiamondImage symbolnomenclature-Image059.jpg
Nonulosonate
Symbol for 3-deoxy-D-glycero-D-galacto-nonulosonic acid
Kdn
Symbol for N-acetylneuraminic acid
Neu5Ac
Symbol for N-glycolylneuraminic acid
Neu5Gc
Symbol for Neuraminic acid
Neu
Symbol for sialic acid
Sia
Flat HexagonImage symbolnomenclature-Image065.jpg
Unknown
Symbol for Bacillosamine
Bac
Symbol for L-glycero-D-mannoheptose
LDManHep
Symbol for 3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid
Kdo
Symbol for 3-deoxy-D-lyxo-heptulosaric acid
Dha
Symbol for D-glycero-D-manno-heptose
DDManHep
Symbol for N-acetylmuramic acid
MurNAc
Symbol for N-glycolylmuramic acid
MurNGc
Symbol for Muramic acid
Mur
PentagonImage symbolnomenclature-Image074.jpg
Assigned
Symbol for L-apiose
Api
Symbol for D-fructose
Fru
Symbol for D-tagatose
Tag
Symbol for L-sorbose
Sor
Symbol for D-psicose
Psi

Notes:

1.

Each symbol represents a specific monosaccharide or class of monosaccharides found in nature.

2.

Assigned symbols are shown in this Appendix to the Third Edition of Essentials of Glycobiology.

3.

Passing the tooltip/pointer over a symbol in the table at the NCBI website will show its full name.

4.

Clicking on an assigned symbol will link to the corresponding entry in PubChem. Full symbol sets are also available as downloadable files (see note 25. below).

5.

To ensure harmony with prior publications, no changes were made to the Second Edition symbol set (Figure 1.5 in the Second Edition; but conversion to black and white is no longer possible). A 3D Symbol Nomenclature for Glycans (3D-SNFG) following the same color scheme is implemented for use with the Visual Molecular Dynamics (VMD) and well-suited for illustrating the conformations of glycans in animations. The VMD script and download instructions are available at GLYCAM-Web. Citation: Thieker et al. Glycobiology. 2016 Aug 11. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cww076. PubMed PMID: 27514939.

6.

Shapes and colors are completely consistent with stereochemistry only for hexoses, hexosamines, N-acetylhexosamines, hexuronates, and pentoses.

7.

Shapes only are consistent for deoxyhexoses, deoxy-N-acetylhexosamines , dideoxyhexoses, and nonulosonates,

8.

A symbol encodes a defined monosaccharide (including D or L) independent of rotation or mirroring. Avoid rotations if possible.

9.

The horizontally divided diamonds for IdoA and AltA are inverted, to indicate the commoner L-forms.

10.

White symbols based on the standard shapes can be used to designate monosaccharides with unknown/undefined stereochemistry (e.g., a white circle can designate a hexose, type not defined, or a white diamond, any nonulosonic acid). A red diamond can be used for Sia (sialic acid), type unspecified.

11.

Colored pentagons and flat hexagons are used for some other monosaccharides that are common in nature. The hexagon is flat because it might otherwise look similar to a circle or square.

12.

Monosaccharides not represented in this table can be shown with a white pentagon and a letter inside and should be defined in the figure legend.

13.

A white flat hexagon can be used for any unknown monosaccharide residue.

14.

The commoner D-configuration and pyranose forms are assumed for all monosaccharides that do not already have their absolute configuration implicit in their trivial name (Abe, Bac, Col, Dha, - Kdn, Kdo, Mur, Neu, Par, Tyv), except for Ara, Fuc, Ido, Rha, Alt, Sor, and their derivatives, which are assumed to be in their commoner L-configuration, and Api, which is commonly in L-furanose form. For details, see Table 3 at the end of these notes, which includes links to MonosaccharideDB.

15.

Any deviations from the standard definitions above need to be labeled, and less common configurations need to be stated in a figure legend or by adding the letters inside the symbol (e.g., adding D or L to the symbol). Furanose rings can be indicated adding an italicized “f” inside the symbol, and alditols can be indicated with an italicized “o” inside the symbol.

16.

The two most common heptoses found in bacterial lipopolysaccharides are shown: that is, L-glycero-D-mannoheptose (LDmanHep, L-gro-D-manHep) and D-glycero-D-mannoheptose (DDmanHep, D-gro-D-manHep). Other heptoses can be shown using a white flat hexagon with a letter inside defined in the figure legend.

17.

Symbols for the core sialic acids Neu5Ac, Neu5Gc, and Kdn are unchanged from the Second Edition and are meant to represent the exact structures, with modifications to be indicated in diagrams (e.g., 9Ac for 9-O-acetylation). With regard to the prokaryotic nonulosonic acids (NulOs), there is a vast diversity in nature, which cannot be easily accommodated in this symbol system. Additions may be made to this row after discussions and consensus among experts on this class of molecules.

18.

Linkages can be shown as in Figure 1.5 of the Second Edition of Essentials. There is now also the option of using the Oxford System of depicting linkages that embeds both the specificity and anomericity of the monosaccharide linkages. Dual linkages (e.g., an outgoing linkage from an aldose in open form) can be shown by double lines. Linkages involving carbon-carbon bond (e.g., in C-glycosides) can be shown in different color.

19.

All monosaccharide glycosidic linkages are assumed to originate from C-1—except for 2-ketoses, which are assumed to be linked from C-2.

20.

Anomeric notation and destination linkage can be indicated in IUPAC style, with or without a dash and with or without the originating carbon number (but with no commas or spacing) (e.g., Neu5Acα2-3Galβ1-4GlcNAc, Neu5Acα3Galβ4GlcNAc, or equivalents in symbol drawings).

21.

An internal phosphodiester can be shown with -P- between the symbols for the linked monosaccharides, with linkage positions if preferred.

22.

Abbreviations for modifications (e.g., sulfate or O-acetyl esters) will continue to follow the style of the Figure 1.5 of the Second Edition of Essentials, using attached letters, with numbers indicating linkage positions, if known (e.g., 9Ac for 9-O-acetyl group; 3S for 3-O-sulfate group; 6P for a 6-O-phosphate group; 8Me for 8-O-methyl group; 9Acy for 9-O-acyl group; 9Lt for 9-O-lactyl group; or 4,6Py for 4,6-pyruvyl group, etc.; abbreviations for multiple modifications can be concatenated).

23.

For N-substituted groups it is assumed that there is only one amino group on the monosaccharide, with an already known common position (e.g., NS for N-sulfate group on glucosamine is assumed to be at the 2-position). For amino sugars in which the nitrogen is not at the most common carbon, add a number to the N (e.g., Rha4N is shown as a green triangle with 4N attached).

24.

Any black shape can be used to depict unsupported residues other than monosaccharides and should be defined in the figure legend.

25.

Symbol sets are available as downloadable files, including high-quality SVG objects, and a table of text word objects the latter retaining the embedded links to PubChem. Copying and pasting a symbol within Microsoft Office retains the clickable link to PubChem (links remain active in the MS Word text file but are active in presentation view only in PowerPoint).

26.

A few examples of glycan structures drawn with this system are shown in Figure 1.5 of the Third Edition.

27.

All downloadable symbols are in the CMYK color assignments as shown in Table 2, which were generated in Adobe Illustrator. To reproduce precise CMYK colors, click on the paint pot icon and select “more colors.” Then, click on sliders in the menu and fill in numbers. Or one can copy an existing fill color by using the Eyedropper/Paintbrush and touching the color one wants.

28.

A listing of abbreviated, full, and complete names of all assigned monosaccharides is shown in Table 3, in alphabetical order

Table 2.

CMYK color assignments (in %)

ColorCMYK settings
White0/0/0/0
Blue100/50/0/0
Green100/0/100/0
Yellow0/15/100/0
Light blue41/5/3/0
Pink0/47/24/0
Purple38/88/0/0
Brown32/48/76/13
Orange0/50/100/0
Red0/100/100/0

Table 3.

Monosaccharide abbreviations and names

AbbreviationNameSystematic name
6dAlt6-deoxy-L-altrose6-deoxy-L-altropyranose
6dTal6-deoxy-D-talose6-deoxy-D-talopyranose
AbeAbequose3,6-dideoxy-D-xylo-hexopyranose
AllD-alloseD-allopyranose
AllAD-alluronic acidD-allopyranuronic acid
AllND-allosamine2-deoxy-2-amino-D-allopyranose
AllNAcN-acetyl-D-allosamine2-deoxy-2-acetamido-D-allopyranose
AltL-altroseL-altropyranose
AltAL-altruronic acidL-altropyranuronic acid
AltNL-altrosamine2-deoxy-2-amino-L-altropyranose
AltNAcN-acetyl-L-altrosamine2-deoxy-2-acetamido-L-altropyranose
Api L-apiose3-C-(hydroxymethyl)-L-erythofuranose
AraL-arabinoseL-arabinopyranose
BacBacillosamine2,4,6-trideoxy-2,4-diamino-D-glucopyranose
ColColitose3,6-dideoxy-L-xylo-hexopyranose
DDManHepD-glycero-D-manno-heptoseD-glycero-D-manno-heptopyranose
Dha3-deoxy-D-lyxo-heptulosaric acid3-deoxy-D-lyxo-hept-2-ulo-pyranosaric acid
DigD-digitoxose2,6-dideoxy-D-ribo-hexopyranose
FruD-fructoseD-arabino-hex-2-ulo-pyranose
FucL-fucose6-deoxy-L-galactopyranose
FucNAcN-acetyl-L-fucosamine2,6-dideoxy-2-amino-L-galactopyranose
GalD-galactoseD-galactopyranose
GalAD-galacturonic acidD-galactopyranuronic acid
GalND-galactosamine2-deoxy-2-amino-D-galactopyranose
GalNAcN-acetyl-D-galactosamine2-deoxy-2-acetamido-D-galactopyranose
GlcD-glucoseD-glucopyranose
GlcAD-glucuronic acidD-glucopyranuronic acid
GlcND-glucosamine2-deoxy-2-amino-D-glucopyranose
GlcNAcN-acetyl-D-glucosamine2-deoxy-2-acetamido-D-glucopyranose
GulD-guloseD-gulopyranose
GulAD-guluronic acidD-gulopyranuronic acid
GulND-gulosamine2-deoxy-2-amino-D-gulopyranose
GulNAcN-acetyl-D-gulosamine2-deoxy-2-acetamido-D-gulopyranose
IdoL-idoseL-idopyranose
IdoAL-iduronic acidL-idopyranuronic acid
IdoNL-idosamine2-deoxy-2-amino-L-idopyranose
IdoNAcN-acetyl-L-idosamine2-deoxy-2-acetamido-L-idopyranose
Kdn3-deoxy-D-glycero-D-galacto-nonulosonic acid3-deoxy-D-glycero-D-galacto-non-2-ulo-pyranosonic acid
Kdo3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid3-deoxy-D-manno-oct-2-ulo-pyranosonic acid
LDManHepL-glycero-D-mannoheptoseL-glycero-D-manno-heptopyranose
LyxD-lyxoseD-lyxopyranose
ManD-mannoseD-mannopyranose
ManAD-mannuronic acidD-mannopyranuronic acid
ManND-mannosamine2-deoxy-2-amino-D-mannopyranose
ManNAcN-acetyl-D-mannosamine2-deoxy-2-acetamido-D-mannopyranose
MurMuramic acid2-amino-3-O-[(R)-1-carboxyethyl]-2-deoxy-D-glucopyranose
MurNAcN-acetylmuramic acid2-acetamido-3-O-[(R)-1-carboxyethyl]-2-deoxy-D-glucopyranose
MurNGcN-glycolylmuramic acid2-glycolylamido-3-O-[(R)-1-carboxyethyl]-2-deoxy-D-glucopyranose
NeuNeuraminic acidD-glycero-5-amino-3,5-dideoxy-D-galacto-non-2-ulo-pyranosonic acid
Neu5AcN-acetylneuraminic acidD-glycero-5-acetamido-3,5-dideoxy-D-galacto-non-2-ulo-pyranosonic acid
Neu5GcN-glycolylneuraminic acidD-glycero-5-glycolylamido-3,5-dideoxy-D-galacto-non-2-ulo-pyranosonic acid
OliOlivose2,6-dideoxy-D-arabino-hexopyranose
ParParatose3,6-dideoxy-D-ribo-Hexopyranose
PsiD-psicoseD-ribo-hex-2-ulo-pyranose
QuiD-quinovose6-deoxy-D-glucopyranose
QuiNAcN-acetyl-D-quinovosamine2,6-dideoxy-2-acetamido-D-glucopyranose
RhaL-rhamnose6-deoxy-L-mannopyranose
RhaNAcN-acetyl-L-rhamnosamine2,6-dideoxy-2-acetamido-L-mannopyranose
RibD-riboseD-ribopyranose
Siasialic acidsialic acid residue of unspecified type
SorL-sorboseL-xylo-hex-2-ulo-pyranose
TagD-tagatoseD-lyxo-hex-2-ulo-pyranose
TalD-taloseD-talopyranose
TalAD-taluronic acidD-talopyranuronic acid
TalND-talosamine2-deoxy-2-amino-D-talopyranose
TalNAcN-acetyl-D-talosamine2-deoxy-2-acetamido-D-talopyranose
TyvTyvelose3,6-dideoxy-D-arabino-hexopyranose
XylD-xyloseD-xylopyranose

Clicking on the abbreviation leads to the corresponding entry in MonosaccharideDB.

SNFG Revision History

August 31, 2016

1.

Link to new Appendix 52A. Organizations and Publications Adopting SNFG.

2.

Red diamond introduced for Sia (sialic acid, type unspecified). White diamond indicates any nonulosonic acid.

3.

A 3D Symbol Nomenclature for Glycans (3D-SNFG) adopted, link to web site provided.

4.

Multiple minor corrections and additions to nomenclature and rules of display.

Copyright 2015 by The Consortium of Glycobiology Editors, La Jolla, California. All rights reserved.
Bookshelf ID: NBK310273

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