Special Issue "Glycosaminoglycans and Their Mimetics"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2014).
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are linear, polyanionic polysaccharide chains with enormous structural diversity that are usually found attached to a protein core to form proteoglycans. The GAG chains are composed of repeating disaccharide subunits containing a uronic acid (D-GlcA or L-IdoA) or hexose (D-Gal) linked to a hexosamine (D-GlcNAc or D-GalNAc). There are five distinct types of GAGs: heparan sulfate (HS), chondroitin sulfate (CS), dermatan sulfate (DS), keratan sulfate (KS) and hyaluronic acid (HA). GAGs are found on the surface of every mammalian cell and in the extracellular matrix and mediate numerous biological and pathological processes by interacting with various proteins (e.g., growth factors, cytokines, proteases, glycosidases and many others). Apart from their roles in normal growth and development, GAGs have attracted much interest because of the important roles they play in diseases such as cancer and inflammation and in infectious diseases where they are used as entry receptors by some viruses. The well-known heparin, a highly sulfated form of HS, has of course been used as an anticoagulant drug for decades. In more recent times, low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) and fondaparinux, the antithrombin-binding pentasaccharide sequence found in heparin, have complemented the use of unfractionated heparin as anticoagulant drugs.
There has been considerable interest in understanding the precise nature of the interactions between GAGs and their binding partners, in particular to define which specific sequences (or arrangement of domains) are responsible for biological activity. Advances in analytical techniques such as NMR and MS to identify GAG sequences and the synthesis of defined, homogeneous GAG oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates for use in biological studies will play an important role in advancing our understanding in this area. The development of GAG mimetics is also of great interest, particularly for the discovery of new therapeutics. GAG mimetics are compounds that block GAG–protein interactions and, by so doing, can interfere with disease processes. Activity in this area has been greatest in the field of cancer where several compounds have entered the clinic, with one of them (PI-88) in Phase III trials.
We invite our colleagues to submit research articles and comprehensive reviews addressing the above mentioned and related topics for publication in this Special Issue.
Dr. Vito Ferro
Manuscript Submission Information
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- heparan sulfate
- chondroitin sulfate
- dermatan sulfate
- hyaluronic acid