Introduction to the Complexity of Cell Surface and Tissue Matrix Glycoconjugates

Veer P. Bhavanandan, D. Channe Gowda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter provides an overview of structures and functions of complex carbohydrates (commonly called glycans) that are covalently linked to proteins or lipids to form glycoconjugates known as glycoproteins, glycolipids, and proteoglycans. To understand the complexity of the glycan structures, the nature of their monosaccharide building blocks, how the monomeric units are covalently linked to each other, and how the resulting glycans are attached to proteins or lipids are discussed. Then, the classification, nomenclature, structural features, and functions of the glycan moieties of animal glycoconjugates are briefly described. All three classes of glycoconjugates are constituents of plasma membranes of all animal cells, including those of the nervous system. Glycoproteins and proteoglycans are also found abundantly as constituents of tissue matrices. Additionally, glycan-rich mucin glycoproteins are the major constituents of mucus secretions of epithelia of various organs. Furthermore, the chapter draws attention to the incredible structural complexity and diversity of the glycan moieties of cell surface and extracellular glycoconjugates. Finally, the involvement of glycans as informational molecules in a wide range of essential functions in almost all known biological processes, which are crucial for development, differentiation, and normal functioning of animals, is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Neurobiology
Number of pages39
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in Neurobiology
ISSN (Print)2190-5215
ISSN (Electronic)2190-5223

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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