Definitions

Glycomics

Glycomics

Glycomics, an analogous term to genomics and proteomics, is the comprehensive study of glycomes (the entire complement of sugars, whether free or present in more complex molecules, of an organism), including genetic, physiologic, pathologic, and other aspects. Glycomics "is the systematic study of all glycan structures of a given cell type or organism" and is a subset of glycobiology. The term glycomics is derived from the chemical prefix for sweetness or a sugar, "glyco-", and was formed to follow the naming convention established by genomics (which deals with genes) and proteomics (which deals with proteins). The identity of the entirety of carbohydrates in an organism is thus collectively referred to as the glycome.

This area of research has to deal with an inherent level of complexity not seen in other areas of applied biology. 68 building blocks (molecules for DNA, RNA and proteins; categories for lipids; types of sugar linkages for saccharides) provide the structural basis for the molecular choreography that constitutes the entire life of a cell. DNA and RNA have four building blocks each (the nucleosides or nucleotides). Lipids are divided into eight categories based on ketoacyl and isoprene. Proteins have 20 (the amino acids). Saccharides have 32 types of sugar linkages.. While these building blocks can be attached only linearly for proteins and genes, they can be arranged in a branched array for saccharides, further increasing the degree of compexity. Advances in glycomics are anticipated to be driven by improvements in molecular sequencing and bioinformatics, which is the computational organization and processing of sequence data.

See also

References

Bibliography

  • C. Stan Tsai: Biomacromolecules. Wiley, Hoboken (New Jersey) 2007. ISBN 978-0-471-71397-5 Chapter 17, Pages 655-680

External links

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