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Bacterial surfaces are rich in glycoconjugates such as capsules, lipopolysaccharides, and peptidoglycans. The discovery of prokaryotic protein glycosylation systems has revealed that many bacteria also have the capacity to synthesise a diverse array of protein glycans, in some cases using novel strategies that differ from those of eukaryotes. Despite advances in our understanding of glycan biosynthesis and the proteins that are targets of glycosylation in bacteria, the roles of these modifications are relatively less well explored. We present an overview of bacterial protein glycosylation systems in bacteria that are relevant to human health, and discuss current evidence which indicates that glycosylation of proteins may impact upon fundamental processes such as bacterial motility, adhesion, and the modulation of immune responses.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Biochem Sci

Publication Date





342 - 350


adhesion, bacteria, glycosylation, immune response, motility, Animals, Bacteria, Bacterial Proteins, Carbohydrate Conformation, Carbohydrate Sequence, Glycoproteins, Glycosylation, Host-Pathogen Interactions, Humans, Polysaccharides, Bacterial, Protein Processing, Post-Translational