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Biochimie. 2001 Aug;83(8):727-37.

The human sialyltransferase family.

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Unité de Glycobiologie Structurale et Fonctionnelle, UMR CNRS no. 8576, Laboratoire de Chimie Biologique, Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille, 59655 Villeneuve dAscq, France.


The human genome encodes probably more than 20 different sialyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis of sialylated glycoproteins and glycolipids but to date only 15 different human sialyltransferase cDNAs have been cloned and characterized. Each of the sialyltransferase genes is differentially expressed in a tissue-, cell type-, and stage-specific manner to regulate the sialylation pattern of cells. These enzymes differ in their substrate specificity, tissue distribution and various biochemical parameters. However, enzymatic analysis conducted in vitro with recombinant enzyme revealed that one linkage can be synthesized by multiple enzymes. We present here an overview of these human genes and enzymes, the regulation of their occurrence and their involvement in several physiological and pathological processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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