Biological Roles of Glycans : A Review

In the special invited review, published in the january issue of Glycobiology, an updated view of the biological role of glycans and complex carbohydrates in presented. A broad classification of the biological roles of glycans is given with special emphasis on organism-intrinsic and organism-extrinsic glycan binding proteins in recognizing glycans. These complement the structural and modulatory roles of glycans and the molecular mimicry of host glycans. This review is a masterful piece of work that synthesizes the knowledge gathered from more than 1000 references in the field, which concludes by stating that "glycans have become the "dark matter" of the biological universe, i.e. important yet poorly understood and therefore deserving special attention".