Automated glycan assembly as an enabling technology

Pardo-Vargas, A. ; Delbianco, M. ; Seeberger, P.

Current Opinion in Chemical Biology 2018, 46:48–55

Access to complex carbohydrates remains a limiting factor for the development of the glycosciences. Automated glycan assembly (AGA) has accelerated and simplified the synthetic process and, with the first commercially available instrument and building blocks, glycan synthesis can now be practiced by any chemist. All classes of glycans, including sulfated or sialylated carbohydrates and polysaccharides as long as 50mers are now accessible owing to optimized reaction conditions and new methodologies. These synthetic glycans have helped to understand many biological functions and to advance diagnostic and vaccine development. Establishing detailed structure–function relationships will eventually enable the production of unnatural materials with tuned properties.