1 <h5>Introduction</h5> A landmark in our understanding of how living tissues assemble glycoproteins and glycolipids was the discovery in the 1940s of the sugar nucleotides [1,2] . After early studies showing that these compounds were the activated forms of the carbohydrates that mediated the interconversion of sugars with one another, it was demonstrated that these derivatives were required for the assembly of the saccharide chains of glycoproteins and glycolipids (see review  ). Research from a variety of laboratories through the 1970s and 1980s described the high degree of specificity exhibited by glycosyltransferases for the sugar nucleotide donor and the aglycone acceptor molecule for such reactions (see review  ). However, while the sugar nucleotides were shown to be substrates for the Golgi-localized glycosyltransferases concerned with the formation of the outer saccharide tiers of asparagine-linked glycoproteins, they were not active in assembling the so-called ‘core region’, i.e., for formation of the chitobiosyl-asparagine linkage region. The breakthrough came in the early 1970s with the demonstration that, in analogy to cell wall biosynthesis, lipid activation of carbohydrates as their dolichol derivatives was required for this purpose  . These compounds were shown to function as more immediate precursors than the
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects – Elsevier
Published: Dec 27, 1999
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