Deciphering functional glycosaminoglycan motifs in development

Robert A. Townley, Hannes E. Bülow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) such as heparan sulfate, chondroitin/dermatan sulfate, and keratan sulfate are linear glycans, which when attached to protein backbones form proteoglycans. GAGs are essential components of the extracellular space in metazoans. Extensive modifications of the glycans such as sulfation, deacetylation and epimerization create structural GAG motifs. These motifs regulate protein–protein interactions and are thereby repsonsible for many of the essential functions of GAGs. This review focusses on recent genetic approaches to characterize GAG motifs and their function in defined signaling pathways during development. We discuss a coding approach for GAGs that would enable computational analyses of GAG sequences such as alignments and the computation of position weight matrices to describe GAG motifs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-154
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
StatePublished - Jun 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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