About this Research Topic
Unlike other types of macromolecules, glycans have highly complex and dynamic structures. Small variations in their composition and types of linkage may lead to significant changes in their biochemical and biophysical properties and are determinant for their specific recognition by proteins. Microbial recognition of glycans represents major biological processes including adhesion, biofilm formation, host invasion, and signalling. In some diseases, alterations in the ability of microbial pathogens to bind glycans can lead to dysbiosis and result in inflammation. On the other hand, microbial glycans are recognized as key mediators of the host immune response, although the presentation of host-like glycans on microbial surfaces can be used to evade this detection. To advance our understanding of these complex interactions at the atomic level, structural-based studies and the development of new techniques are key.
The goal of this Research Topic is to provide a timely update on the recent studies of glycan-mediated host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions. We will highlight the technological advances, in particular in structural biology, that have enabled these new discoveries. By bringing together a selection of experts from diverse and complementary backgrounds (e.g. glycobiology, microbiology, molecular/cell biology and structural biology), we hope to stimulate discussion, forge new collaborations, and hatch new ideas in this exciting research area.
In this Research Topic we will cover promising, recent, and novel research trends that focus on microbes (bacteria, virus, parasite, fungus) and glycan interactions within health and disease. Areas to be covered in this Research Topic may include, but are not limited to:
• reviews/primary research with biological and medical relevance
• microbe recognition of microbial glycans (e.g. biofilms), microbe recognition of host glycan receptors, or host recognition of microbial glycans
• glycan specificities of microbial carbohydrate-active enzymes and mechanisms for recognition and enzymatic functions
• methodological developments for integrated structural biology studies of glycan-mediated microbe interactions
• bioinformatics resources for knowledge on glycan recognition by microbial proteins
• biological studies/prospects for studying interactions in complex systems (e.g. techniques, cell model systems)
Keywords: glycans, glycosidic linkage, microbe, cell surface, host interaction
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.