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FEMS Yeast Res. 2006 Jun;6(4):499-512.

Glycosyltransferases and their products: cryptococcal variations on fungal themes.

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Department of Molecular Microbiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110-1093, USA.


Glycosyltransferases are specific enzymes that catalyse the transfer of monosaccharide moieties to biological substrates, including proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. These enzymes are present from prokaryotes to humans, and their glycoconjugate products are often vital for survival of the organism. Many glycosyltransferases found in fungal pathogens such as Cryptococcus neoformans do not exist in mammalian systems, making them attractive potential targets for selectively toxic agents. In this article, we present the features of this diverse class of enzymes, and review the fungal glycosyltransferases that are involved in synthesis of the cell wall, the cryptococcal capsule, glycoproteins and glycolipids. We specifically focus on enzymes that have been identified or studied in C. neoformans, and we consider future directions for research on glycosyltransferases in the context of this opportunistic pathogen.

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