Description: Intended as an introduction to glycoscience for students, this book covers glycoproteins, glycolipids, and lectins.
Purpose: The authors state that this book is intended as a text for undergraduates. This would be a desirable goal if such courses were broadly taught. This is not the case and, in any event, the overall value as a text is quite limited.
Audience: Intended for the student, much of the material would be accessible to any investigator wishing additional background material in glycoconjugates. The authors have a strong background in the lectin area but appear much less well versed in basic carbohydrate chemistry and enzymology.
Features: This book is presented as an undergraduate-level text to introduce students to the general area of glycobiology. As one of the remaining frontier areas, glycobiology is an appropriate field to introduce to students so they can develop a deeper understanding of glycoscience. In this area, a suitable mix of chemistry, biochemistry, and biology is required. This book does well in two of these but has shortcomings in the chemical material. A brief introductory chapter on chemistry of saccharides is followed by discussions of N- and O-linked glycoproteins, glycolipids, and effects of glycosylation on protein structure and trafficking. The concluding section focuses on lectins. In general, the coverage is adequate and most areas of glycobiology are discussed. There are, however, several shortcomings that limit enthusiasm. A number of the chemical formulas are either incorrect or improperly named included are those for the nucleotide sugars (beta-linkages instead of alpha), iduronic acid (identified as D- rather than L-). In addition, it would have been useful to include material on the biosynthetic relationships among the sugars and that all derive from D-glucose (and why). The biosynthesis of sugar nucleotides is poorly illustrated and leaves the impression that most UDP-galactose is formed directly from galactose (rather than by epimerizatrion of UDP-glucose).
Assessment: This is a disappointing effort in an area where a good book would have had considerable utility. The chemistry is weak, at times misleading. In addition, little information about biosynthesis is provided. Other recent book in this field are more accurate and to be preferred.