About this Research Topic
Glycans have long been known to be one of the most abundant biological molecules in living organisms. They can function as energy compounds, form structural cell wall/matrix polymers, or exist as oligomers that are attached on proteins, lipids and natural products to influence their properties and function. Because of their important biological roles, glycans have great potential for applications in the development of new drugs, materials, food additives and many other products. However, it is often difficult to directly obtain glycans from natural sources with ideal properties for these applications. Thus, modification of glycan structures for desired properties has emerged as an active area of research. This research area is generally called glycoengineering.
Glycoengineering covers a wide variety of research areas, including the optimization of the structures of monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, and glycoconjugates. Investigation of these topics may lead to the discovery of new dietary supplements, materials, small-molecule drugs, biologics and cellular therapies, and more. Many different strategies, such as rational design, combinatorial approaches, or the combination of both, have been used to pursue different glycoengineering goals. Regardless of the strategy chosen, the key for successful implementation of glycoengineering is being able to build the designed molecules for further analysis and comparison purposes. Various methods like chemical synthesis, chemoenzymatic/enzymatic synthesis and cell expression have been developed for the preparation of glycans and glycosylated molecules. Due to considerable differences in target molecules, research strategies, and sample preparation methods, glycoengineering work often appears in a wide range of scientific journals. Consequently, it is difficult to gather useful knowledge on glycoengineering from such scattered publications. To address this issue, this Research Topic will bring together reviews and representative research articles in an orderly manner to enable easy and quick access to information for building up glycoengineering knowledge. Potential subjects include, but are not limited to:
• Production of glycans and glycoconjugates
(1) Isolation from natural sources
(2) Chemical synthesis
(3) Chemoenzymatic synthesis
• Application of glycoengineering.
(1) Engineering of mono, oligo and polysaccharides
(2) Engineering of glycolipids
(3) Development of glycan-based vaccines
(4) Glycoengineering of natural products and peptides
(5) Protein glycoengineering
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.