Role of Cell Surface Carbohydrates in Development and Disease

Michiko N. Fukuda, Tomoya O. Akama, Kazuhiro Sugihara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses the roles of cell surface carbohydrates in development, while focusing on embryo implantation, spermatogenesis, and tissue maturation. The outer surface of mammalian cells is covered by glycoproteins and glycolipids. Substantial biochemical and immunochemical evidence suggests that cell surface carbohydrates play significant roles in development and health. Functional studies of cell surface carbohydrates still leave many questions unanswered. In the last decade, genetic approaches and sophisticated chemical analyses have enabled us to reveal the function of specific carbohydrate structures in vivo, and as a result the role of carbohydrates in development and disease is understood. In the field of reproductive biology and embryology, it has been assumed that cell surface carbohydrates play important roles. These hypotheses are difficult to test because embryonic development is dynamic and the material of interest is often too limited to allow chemical analysis. Analyzing early stage embryos requires well-trained hands and skills that many biochemists and molecular biologists have only recently developed. Nonetheless, many attractive hypotheses await testing by new technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCarbohydrate Chemistry, Biology and Medical Applications
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9780080548166
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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