Revisiting the Language of Glycoscience

Glycoscience – the chemistry and biology of carbohydrates - is both complex and ubiquitous in nature. In contrast to nucleic acids and proteins (DNA codes for RNA codes for protein), the lack of template-encoding disconnects the ‘glyco code’ from direct gene sequence control. This results in carbohydrate biosynthesis and the biological function of glycans being dependent upon a series of protein-carbohydrate interaction events. Description of these events has tended to emphasize their complexity. There is merit in simplifying the language of glycoscience to make it more accessible to the uninitiated. The notion of accessible vocabulary in glycoscience is not new perhaps it is time to revisit the terminology of glycoscience, to make interdisciplinary communication more straightforward and reference to lectin as readers, glycosyltransferase as writers, and glycosyl hydrolase as erasers may, therefore, be worth wider to make interdisciplinary communication more straightforward and to support marketing and engagement beyond the immediate field.