Glycoprotein Processing and Trafficking Inhibitors
N- and O-glycan structures contribute significantly to biological recognition and cell adhesion during immune surveillance, inflammatory reactions, hormone action, and viral infections. The cell- and tissue-specific changes in cell surface oligosaccharides during various phases of development indicate that these structures are also involved in cell adhesion and migration during embryogenesis. Modifications in the branching and extension of N-glycans are also observed on cells undergoing oncogenic transformation. These modifications may result in alterations in cell adhesion and contribute to the invasiveness and metastatic potential of malignant cells.
Inhibitors of glycoprotein processing act late in the N-glycan processing pathway and block the oncogeneinduced changes in cell surface oligosaccharide structures. The various processing inhibitors provide useful tools to understand the role of specific kinds of oligosaccharide structures in the function of various glycoproteins. Because of the specificity of the processing inhibitors for individual glycosidases, these compounds are also valuable reagents to differentiate various enzymatic activities in the cells.