Glycans are saccharides that can be attached to a wide variety of biological molecules through an enzymatic process called glycosylation to augment their function. Of the four fundamental building blocks of life, proteins, carbohydrates (glycans), lipids and nucleic acids, glycans have received the least attention from researchers.

Cover of the 2013 JBC thematic miniseries Glycobiology & Extracellular Matrices

A recent issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry highlighted the important and diverse biological functions of glycans in a thematic minireview series organized by Associate Editor Gerald W. Hart.

Glycans: the underappreciated building block of life