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Carbohydrates are the third revolution in evolution, besides nucleic acids & proteins

World Scientific

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Credit: World Scientific/Imperial College Press 2015

4 August 2015 - Carbohydrates are currently considered one of the four biomolecules essential for all forms of life. Despite their biological relevance in terms of biochemical, structural, and functional roles within any living organism, they still represent a fascinating world not fully deciphered.

All eukaryotic cells expose on their surface the glycocalix, a thick coating of complex carbohydrates linked to lipids and proteins (glycoconjugates). Amazingly, there is no known living cell that can function without the glycocoalix, that is mediating any interaction occurring at the cell surface, for example with viruses, bacteria, proteins.

Carbohydrates and their glycoconjugates are synthesised via complex biosynthetic pathways, deeply affected by physiological and pathological states. Since the last few decades, it is emerging that evolution upgraded these biomolecules to fundamental roles, especially in eukaryotic organisms such as humans. The awareness of this profound role in complex organisms has opened a new "omic" era: we're living in the glycomic period.

In order to comprehend the "glyco-world", advanced synthetic, analytical and biochemical techniques are required. The book represents an authoritative text that brings together the most recent advances in these areas, together with an introductory part on the known biological roles of main glycoconjugates. The extracellular matrix (ECM) contains carbohydrates as well, in the form of glycoproteins and proteoglycans. It is, of course, essential in many cellular processes, such as differentiation, proliferation, and migration. However, the composition and function of ECM is not included in this book, since it would require a separate treatment in order to bring a holistic understanding of the subject matter.

The book is organized into four major thematic parts: (i) Structure and biological function of glycoconjugates, (ii) Towards glycomics: methodologies and techniques for the determination of structure-activity relationship, (iii) Synthetic challenges: towards drug development, (iv) Carbohydrate-based compounds for medicinal chemistry applications.

A conclusive chapter Carbohydrate-based drugs on the market: overview and future directions highlights how the basic understanding of carbohydrate roles has brought to marketed therapeutics.

The most significant aspects of the present book are the current and emerging research topics in glycoscience, highlighting how it will play a key role in modern medicine.

The book is the result of several contributions, given by leading researchers in glycoscience, coming from top institutions all over the world, including Japan, Cuba, Taiwan, USA and different countries in Europe.

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Written by Laura Cipolla (University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy), this book "Carbohydrate Chemistry: State of the Art and Challenges for Drug Development: An Overview on Structure, Biological Roles, Synthetic Methods and Application as Therapeutics" retails for US$155 / £102 at leading bookstores.

If you require a copy of the book for media review or would like to interview the author(s), please contact Jason CJ, cjlim@wspc.com.sg, +65-64665775, ext 247

About World Scientific Publishing

World Scientific Publishing is a leading independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. The company publishes about 500 books annually and more than 120 journals in various fields. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation, US National Academies Press, as well as its subsidiary, the Imperial College Press, amongst others, to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit http://www.worldscientific.com

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