Glycans are linked to proteins and lipids in the form of glycoproteins, proteoglycans, and glycolipids, which are predominantly observed on the surface of cells. Based on the fact that approximately 50% of proteins are modified by glycans and that glycoconjugates cover the cell surface and typically extend ~80 nm from the cell membrane, it is essential to understand the functions of cell-surface glycans in cell-molecule/cell interactions and recognition, particularly with respect to mental disorders, although such analyses have not yet been conducted satisfactorily. Thus, our objective is to understand the biological significances of the presence of glycan chains in organisms.
Projects on-going in our laboratory:
- Structural and functional analyses of oligo/polysialoglycoconjugates
- Analysis of glyco-atmosphere, a field of glycans on the surface of cells and glycoconjugates:
- Analysis of genetic factors and environmental factors involved in the oligo/polySia-expression
- Analysis of the biological significance of the diversity (component, linkage, degree of polymerization, and modifications) of polymerized sialic acid.
- Development of probes for the oligo/polysialylated glycans towards the diagnosis and treatments of diseases such as psychiatric disorders and cancers.