Introduction to Glycobiologyby Maureen E. Taylor, Kurt Drickamer
The structures of sugars attached to cells and proteins have been investigated by biochemists for more than one hundred years. The discipline of glycobiology has emerged more recently, as key principles about the vital biological functions of these complex sugars have been established and their importance for the suudy of cell biology and immunology has become apparent. Introduction to Glycobiology is the first textbook to present the essential elements of glycobiology to undergraduates and other non-specialists in a readily accessible way, focusing on coherent stories about what sugars do for cells and organisms. The importance of glycosylation in protein secretion and stability, cell-cell adhesion and signalling, and innate and adaptive immunity is emphasized, and the glycobiology underlying human disease is explained throughout the book to place the subject in a biomedical context. The book is illustrated throughout with all new custom-drawn figures. The simple organization, highlighted terms, and annotated key reference lists make the text as readable and accessible as possible.
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.
- Oxford University Press, USA
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 7.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Meet the Author
Maureen Taylor gained her BSc from King's College, University of London and went on to study for her PhD at the University of London. She was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University, University Research Lecturer at the Glycobiology Institute in the Department of Biochemistry. She is now Research Lecturer in the Division of Molecular Biosciences at Imperial College London and also Fellow and Tutor in Biochemistry at Exeter College Oxford.
Kurt Drickamer studied for his BS at Stanford University, and then his PhD at Harvard. He was the Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Duke University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory before being appointed Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, University of Chicago, Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Columbia University, and Professor of Biochemistry and Wellcome Principal Research Fellow at the Glycobiology Institute in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford. Kurt is now Professor of Biochemistry in the Division of Molecular Biosciences at Imperial College London.
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