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Acta Anat (Basel). 1998;161(1-4):18-35.

Strategies for glycoconjugate analysis.

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Institute of Biochemistry, University of Giessen, Germany.


Glycoconjugates such as glycoproteins and glycosphingolipids exhibit multiple functions in biological systems. A correlation of functional features with defined structural parameters, however, presupposes detailed information on the glycoconjugates' carbohydrate moieties including the type of linkage of the oligosaccharide chain(s), monosaccharide composition as well as sequence, linkage positions and anomeric configurations of individual sugar monomers. Chemical and biochemical analyses are often impeded by the limited amounts of sample available and the vast structural heterogeneity of glycoconjugate glycans, thus requiring highly sensitive and efficient methods for detection, separation and structural elucidation of these carbohydrates. The aim of the article is to present suitable strategies for structural characterization of glycoconjugate glycans and to briefly review some of the techniques commonly used in this field.

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