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Carbohydrates: Comprehensive Studies on Glycobiology and Glycotechnology

Carbohydrates: Comprehensive Studies on Glycobiology and Glycotechnology

     Carbohydrates consist of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and other important modification atoms. They are the major component of plants and comprise more than 40% of energy in human diets. In addition to be the basic energy source and biomaterial building blocks, carbohydrates are also involved in many physiological and pathological events. Because the carbon atom has four valence electrons, it can form chemical bonds with four different atoms. As a consequence, much of constitutional isomers and stereoisomers are found in carbohydrates. In addition, the cyclization of a linear carbohydrate to form five, six or seven membered hemiacetal/hemiketal ring also increases the complexity of glycan structures. Since the late nineteenth century, many chemists devoted their life to figure out these chemical and biochemical questions. The slow development of analytical methods and instruments has prevented the biological roles of carbohydrates from being investigated and characterized until the 1970s. Due to the difficulties of getting a lot of pure and homogeneous carbohydrates from natural sources, carbohydrate organic synthesis has become an essential and flourish subject in Glycobiology.

     Because carbohydrates are involved in multiple disciplines, this ebook consists of 23 excellent chapters, classified into five catogories - Chemistry and Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Carbohydrate metabolism, Animal and Plant, and Biotechnology. In section one, organic reactions of carbohydrates and the analysis of carbohydrate derivatives are discussed. A high-throughputable carbohydrate microarray without any wash steps is also introduced. This reliable platform not only offers consistent results with literature - it can be applied for the determination of pathogen-carbohydrate interactions. The importance of glycans in infectious disease has been well studied, as well as the immune response and signal transduction pathway. Chapters in section 2 introduce the studies of DC-SIGN antagonists and IL- 13 in a viral infection, and the biosynthesis of carbohydrates in a microorganism. The metabolism of carbohydrates in bacteria and drosophila is collected in section 3. This section also discusses the effects of starvation in carbohydrate metabolism in marine bacteria. Section 4 contains some non-popular topics about the digestion of carbohydrates in ruminants, the influences of environment and fungi in plant carbohydrates, and the responses of plants under sugar starvation. The observation, discovery and results of these chapters are specialized and unique. This book is also an encouragement to people who work in the non-mainstream investigations. The final section is the technology and application of carbohydrates in microbes. They can be used as prebiotics, to form biomass, as well as healthy supplements.

     An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. In order to function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, from viruses to cancer cells, and distinguish them from the organism's own healthy tissue. The immune system is composed of many cells and molecules that act in a complex and harmonious way with the ultimate goal of annihilating the aggressive factor.

     In the immune system, two phases of activity can be clearly established: the innate immune response and the adaptive immune response. In the innate immune response, there is the activity of cells and cytokines in a nonspecific way with the main purpose to annihilate quickly the local damaging agents. At this stage, we highlight the neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils and macrophages, cells with well-established activities but with the common function of production and release of cytokines. These cytokines are molecules with various functions in the inflammatory process, such as chemotaxis, activation of certain cell groups and increased tissue perfusion.

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