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Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are linear anionic polysaccharides, and most of them show a specific sulfation pattern. GAGs have been studied for decades, and still, new biological functions are discovered. Hyaluronic acid and heparin are sold for medical or cosmetic applications. With increased market and applications, the production of GAGs stays in the focus of research groups and the industry. Common industrial GAG production relies on the extraction of animal tissue. Contamination, high dispersity, and uncontrolled sulfation pattern are still obstacles to this process. Tailored production strategies for the chemoenzymatic synthesis have been developed to address these obstacles. In recent years, enzyme cascades, including uridine-5'-diphosphate sugar syntheses, were established to obtain defined polymer size and dispersity, as well as defined sulfation patterns. Nevertheless, the complex synthesis of GAGs is still a challenging research field. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Johannes Gottschalk, Lothar Elling. Current state on the enzymatic synthesis of glycosaminoglycans. Current opinion in chemical biology. 2021 Apr;61:71-80

PMID: 33271474

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