Peptide-displaying phage technology in glycobiology

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Phage display technology is an emerging drug discovery tool. Using that approach, short peptides that mimic part of a carbohydrate's conformation are selected by screening a peptide-displaying phage library with anti-carbohydrate antibodies. Chemically synthesized peptides with an identified sequence have been used as an alternative ligand to carbohydrate-binding proteins. These peptides represent research tools useful to assay the activities of glycosyltransferases and/or sulfotransferases or to inhibit the carbohydrate-dependent binding of proteins in vitro and in vivo. Peptides can also serve as immunogens to raise anti-carbohydrate antibodies in vivo in animals. Phage display has also been used in single-chain antibody technology by inserting an immunoglobulin's variable region sequence into the phage. A single-chain antibody library can then be screened with a carbohydrate antigen as the target, resulting in a recombinant anti-carbohydrate antibody with high affinity to the antigen. This review provides examples of successful applications of peptide-displaying phage technology to glycobiology. Such an approach should benefit translational research by supplying carbohydrate-mimetic peptides and carbohydrate-binding polypeptides.

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