Topic: Glycoproteins, glycosylation & Cancer
This week you learned about the importance of glycoproteins, glycosylation and the “sugar code” and its importance for many important cellular processes, ranging from cell-cell interaction, immune function and cancer. You heard that the extracellular carbohydrate coat, called glycocalyx, plays a role in tumor formation and progression. As you work on this assignment, consider that approximately half of all human proteins known to date are glycosylated and the majority cancer biomarkers are comprised of glycoproteins. About 270,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. per year and 6.9% of all cancer related deaths will result from breast cancer. Also consider that the human receptor tyrosine-protein kinase erbB-2 (HER2), one of the proteins found mutated in many breast cancer patients, has multiple sites of N-glycosylation important for its biological function.
This week I want you to read the following scientific review article:
Scott D.A. & Drake R.R. Glycosylation and its implication in breast cancer. Exp. Rev. Proteomics. 2019 Aug.; 16(8): 665-680) and also do some additional literature research on NCBI PubMed (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/) on this week’s topic.
Then discuss the following aspects with your class mates:
- Is there scientific evidence showing a role of glycosylation in tumor development and/or metastasis?
- Which enzymes important for glycosylation are discussed to play a role in tumorigenesis, particularly in breast cancer?
- Which sugar residues and “glyco-antigens” are discussed to play a role in tumorigenesis, particularly in breast cancer?
- What are the diagnostic methods used to detect alterations in glycosylation patterns amongst normal cell and tumor cells?
- What is meant by the term “sugar code”?
- What are the challenges in the field of glyco-biology?
Be sure to include all references at the end of your initial posting to receive full credit. These posts need to be a couple of paragraphs and should not exceed a page (minimum of 250 words required for full credit of original post).