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Glycobiology. 2003 Oct;13(10):93R-104R. Epub 2003 Jul 8.

Glycosidase inhibitors: update and perspectives on practical use.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Hokuriku University, Ho-3 Kanagawa-machi, Kanazawa 920-1181, Japan.


About 40 years have passed since the classical glycosidase inhibitor nojirimycin was discovered from the cultured broth of the Streptomyces species. Since then, over 100 glycosidase inhibitors have been isolated from plants and microorganisms. Modifying or blocking biological processes by specific glycosidase inhibitors has revealed the vital functions of glycosidases in living systems. Because enzyme-catalyzed carbohydrate hydrolysis is a biologically widespread process, glycosidase inhibitors have many potential applications as agrochemicals and therapeutic agents. Glycosidases are involved in the biosynthesis of the oligosaccharide chains and quality control mechanisms in the endoplasmic reticulum of the N-linked glycoproteins. Inhibition of these glycosidases can have profound effects on quality control, maturation, transport, and secretion of glycoproteins and can alter cell-cell or cell-virus recognition processes. This principle is the basis for the potential use of glycosidase inhibitors in viral infection, cancer, and genetic disorders. In this review, the past and current applications of glycosidase inhibitors to agricultural and medical fields and the prospect for new therapeutic applications are reconsidered.

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