What is GlycoT ?
In 1997, the first International Symposium on Glycosyltransferases (GlycoT) was held in Osaka, Japan, featuring speakers from around the globe. Since the initial conference, the symposium has been held almost every two years in world locations such as Toronto, Canada (2000), Stockholm, Sweden (2002), Le Touquet, France (2004), Tsukuba, Japan (2006), and Atlanta, USA (2008). This year, the 7th GlycoT conference is being held in Tokyo, Japan.
The GlycoT meeting arose from the discoveries in recent years that carbohydrate or glycan chains are an important area of research in the post-genomic era. Studies on glycan structure are now termed Glycomics. Many proteins and lipids in the body are functionally matured by the addition of carbohydrate chains, and are termed glycoconjugates. Historically, the biological structures of glycans had been difficult to study partly due to complex analytical technology. But new developments in the field employing mass spectrometry and NMR have made structural characterization of glycans more routine. It is now known that glycans in glycoproteins, glycolipids, and glycosaminoglycans in animal cells contribute to many aspects of cell adhesion, cell signaling, and other cellular processes. Altered glycan biosynthesis is associated with many human disorders, including congenital disorders of glycosylation, autoimmune diseases, renal diseases, neuromuscular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and sensitivity to infectious disease. Glycoconjugates are key molecules in host-pathogen interactions, including recognition by viruses and bacteria.
Glycosyltransferases are enzymes that synthesize glycans. There are at least 250 different glycosyltransferases encoded in the human genome. Studies on the biological functions of glycans are being explored partly through genetic manipulation of the expression of glycosyltransferase genes. In addition, glycosyltransferases can be used for synthesizing and modifying glycoconjugates. (Taken from GlycoT 2008 website and slightly modified)
In this year’s meeting, we anticipate hearing the latest advances from outstanding researchers in the field. We also encourage participation from researchers new to the field of glycobiology, as well as junior investigators worldwide.