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Genetics of glycosylation in mammalian development and disease

Glycosylation of proteins and lipids in mammals is essential for embryogenesis and the development of all tissues. Analyses of glycosylation mutants in cultured mammalian cells and model organisms have been key to defining glycosylation pathways and the biological functions of glycans. More recently, applications of genome sequencing have revealed the breadth of rare congenital disorders of glycosylation in humans and the influence of genetics on the synthesis of glycans relevant to infectious diseases, cancer progression and diseases of the immune system. This improved understanding of glycan synthesis and functions is paving the way for advances in the diagnosis and treatment of glycosylation-related diseases, including the development of glycoprotein therapeutics through glycosylation engineering.