The monosaccharide units in oligosaccharides and polysaccharides can attach to one another at multiple points (the wide variety of structures can be seen). Thus the carbohydrates can carry much more information per unit weight than either proteins or nucleic acids. Glycosylation may confer a range of properties of a protein. The diverse function of glycoproteins is a direct result of their structure.
The carbohydrate moieties are involved in :
Recognition and adhesion (among others they can serve as antigens ; the adhesion molecules are also important in reproduction, differentiation and growth control)
Metabolism and transport
Maintaining of the cell and protein structure
and other processes.
Go to Contents