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Biology 2017, 6(4), 45;

Exploring the Glycans of Euglena gracilis

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK
Department of Biological Chemistry, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK
Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg 1871, Denmark
Institute for Glycomics, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, Southport, QLD 4222, Australia
Department of Biomolecular Sciences, Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, 14424 Potsdam, Germany
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Saul Purton and Brenda Parker
Received: 7 November 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microalgal Biotechnology)
Full-Text   |   PDF [3323 KB, uploaded 18 December 2017]   |  


Euglena gracilis is an alga of great biotechnological interest and extensive metabolic capacity, able to make high levels of bioactive compounds, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and β-glucan. Previous work has shown that Euglena expresses a wide range of carbohydrate-active enzymes, suggesting an unexpectedly high capacity for the synthesis of complex carbohydrates for a single-celled organism. Here, we present an analysis of some of the carbohydrates synthesised by Euglena gracilis. Analysis of the sugar nucleotide pool showed that there are the substrates necessary for synthesis of complex polysaccharides, including the unusual sugar galactofuranose. Lectin- and antibody-based profiling of whole cells and extracted carbohydrates revealed a complex galactan, xylan and aminosugar based surface. Protein N-glycan profiling, however, indicated that just simple high mannose-type glycans are present and that they are partially modified with putative aminoethylphosphonate moieties. Together, these data indicate that Euglena possesses a complex glycan surface, unrelated to plant cell walls, while its protein glycosylation is simple. Taken together, these findings suggest that Euglena gracilis may lend itself to the production of pharmaceutical glycoproteins. View Full-Text
Keywords: algae; Euglena; biotechnology; carbohydrates; N-glycan; sugar nucleotide algae; Euglena; biotechnology; carbohydrates; N-glycan; sugar nucleotide

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O’Neill, E.C.; Kuhaudomlarp, S.; Rejzek, M.; Fangel, J.U.; Alagesan, K.; Kolarich, D.; Willats, W.G.T.; Field, R.A. Exploring the Glycans of Euglena gracilis. Biology 2017, 6, 45.

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