Chemoenzymatic synthesis of glycosaminoglycans: re-creating, re-modeling and re-designing nature's longest or most complex carbohydrate chains.

Glycobiology

PubMedID: 23481097

DeAngelis PL, Liu J, Linhardt RJ. Chemoenzymatic synthesis of glycosaminoglycans: re-creating, re-modeling and re-designing nature's longest or most complex carbohydrate chains. Glycobiology. 2013;23(7):764-77.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are complex polysaccharides composed of hexosamine-containing disaccharide repeating units. The three most studied classes of GAGs, heparin/heparan sulfate, hyaluronan and chondroitin/dermatan sulfate, are essential macromolecules. GAGs isolated from animal and microbial sources have been utilized therapeutically, but naturally occurring GAGs are extremely heterogeneous limiting further development of these agents. These molecules pose difficult targets to construct by classical organic syntheses due to the long chain lengths and complex patterns of modification by sulfation and epimerization. Chemoenzymatic synthesis, a process that employs exquisite enzyme catalysts and various defined precursors (e.g. uridine 5'-diphosphosphate-sugar donors, sulfate donors, acceptors and oxazoline precursors), promises to deliver homogeneous GAGs. This review covers both theoretical and practical issues of GAG oligosaccharide and polysaccharide preparation as single molecular entities and in library formats. Even at this early stage of technology development, nearly monodisperse GAGs can be made with either natural or artificial structures.