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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Warren Knudson, PhD (Rush Medical College of Rush University)
Description: As its name implies, this book is concerned with the synthesis, analysis, and application of small-sized glycans/glycopeptides. However, the primary focus (8 of 15 chapters) appears to be the review of current chemical methods for synthesis.
Purpose: One purpose of the book is to bolster interest and excitement in oligosaccharide-related chemistry, something that has been lacking in comparison to fields such as nucleic acid and protein/peptide-based chemistry. Although the book achieves its goal of convincing the reader that glycopeptide synthesis is now a feasible undertaking, the use of practical chemical approaches still appears difficult, with many parts of which are still best supplemented by or more efficiently completed via enzymatic reactions.
Audience: The audience described by the authors consists of glycobiologists, graduate students, practitioners in organic chemistry and biochemistry and, pharmaceutical scientists. Although the book is a mix, with certain chapters more relevant to particular audiences, the book would seem of particular importance to a more select group such as pharmaceutical scientists. A large emphasis is given to synthesis for practical applications. Although a practicing glycobiologist may be interested in obtaining a particular pure, synthetic glycan (analogous to obtaining pure synthetic oligonucleotide sequences), they might not be as interested in knowing of advances in the chemistry of its synthesis.
Features: The book has several useful features. Because of the considerable depth of technical details in some chapters, abbreviation tables have been included. All figures are black-and-white, but, given that most of the figures are chemical structures or pathways, color enhancement is not necessary. Precursor, intermediate, and product structures are clearly bold highlighted in figures and within the text.
Assessment: This book brings together in one text the successful approaches and problems in the field of glycopeptide synthesis and their practical application. Its fault is the narrow audience of those who will really appreciate its full value.