Glycobiology of α-dystroglycan and muscular dystrophy

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Abstract

Most proteins are modified by glycans, which can modulate the biological properties and functions of glycoproteins. The major glycans can be classified into N-glycans and O-glycans according to their glycan-peptide linkage. This review will provide an overview of the O-mannosyl glycans, one subtype of O-glycans. Originally, O-mannosyl glycan was only known to be present on a limited number of glycoproteins, especially α-dystroglycan (α-DG). However, once a clear relationship was established between O-mannosyl glycan and the pathological mechanisms of some congenital muscular dystrophies in humans, research on the biochemistry and pathology of O-mannosyl glycans has been expanding. Because α-DG glycosylation is defective in congenital muscular dystrophies, which also feature abnormal neuronal migration, these disorders are collectively called α-dystroglycanopathies. In this article, I will describe the structure, biosynthesis and pathology of O-mannosyl glycans.

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