Mammalian Sialyltransferase Superfamily : Structure and Function

  • Lee, Young-Choon (Division of Biotechnology, Faculty of Natural Resources and Life Science, Dong-A University)
  • Published : 2002.12.06


To elucidate the regulatory mechanism for expression of sialyl-glycoconjugates and their biological functions, ninetheen sialyltransferase cDNAs including eleven by our group or co-works have been cloned and characterized so far. The cloned sialyltransferases are classified into four families according to the carbohydrate linkages they synthesize: ${\alpha}2,3-sialyltransferase$ (ST3Gal I-VI), ${\alpha}$ 2,6-sialyltransferase (ST6Gal I), GalNAc ${\alpha}$ 2,6-sialyltransferase (ST6GalNAc I-VI), and ${\alpha}2,8-sialyltransferase$ (ST8Sia I-VI). Each of the sialyltransferase genes is differentially expressed in a tissue-, cell type-, and stage-specific manner. These enzymes differ in their substrate specificity and various biochemical parameters. However, enzymatic analysis conducted in vitro with recombinant enzyme revealed that one linkage can be synthesized by multiple enzymes. We present here an overview of structure and function of sialyltransferases performed by our group and co-works. Genomic structures and transcriptional regulation of two kinds of human sialyltransferase gene are also presented.