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Glycoprotein

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Definition

noun, plural: glycoproteins

Any of the conjugated proteins, characterized by having one or more covalently-linked carbohydrate residues


Supplement

Glycoconjugates are carbohydrates that are covalently linked to another biomolecule via glycosylation and the carbohydrate constituent of the complex is called a glycan. Examples of glycoconjugates are glycoproteins, glycopeptides, peptidoglycans, glycosides, glycolipids, and lipopolysaccharides.

A glycoprotein pertains to any protein covalently attached to a carbohydrate unit through the process of glycosylation. Some of the common carbohydrate constituents of glycoproteins are β-D-glucose, β-D-galactose, β-D-mannose, α-L-fucose, N-acetylglucosamine, N-acetylgalactosamine, N-acetylneuraminic acid, and xylose. The carbohydrate constituent is attached to the protein via the -OH group of serine or threonine (i.e. O-glycosylated) or via the amide NH2 of asparagine (i.e. N-glycosylated).

Some of the examples where glycoproteins are found naturally:

While technically describing conjugates in which the carbohydrate is less than 4 percent by weight, the term is often used generically to include the mucoproteins and proteoglycans. However, differences in the usage of the terms: glycoprotein, proteoglycan, peptidoglycan, and glycopeptide exist, and therefore, prudence in the usage of these terms has to be exercised.

For instance, proteoglycans may be regarded as a subset of glycoproteins since both of them have a protein core. However, there are differences in several aspects. In structure, glycoproteins have carbohydrate chains attached to a polypeptide side chain whereas proteoglycans have glycosaminoglycan chains attached to the polypeptide. Glycoproteins have lower percentage of non-protein content by weight than proteoglycans (which, in turn, have higher, about 50-60%).


See also:

Related term(s):