Friday, September 18, 2009

4 Glyconutrients Mentioned in Molecular Biology Class

When I describe glyconutrients, I describe them as essential monosaccharides found on cellular surfaces that are used for cellular communication, recognition, and adhesion.

But today in my Molecular Cellular Biology class we talked about the function and importance of 4 of the 8 glyconutrients INSIDE the cell. Yes! Glyconutrients play an extremely important role in the transportation of peptides and proteins from the nucleus to the membrane. The three glyconutrients mentioned in class are:

N-acetyl glucosamine
N-acetyl galatosamine

Brief overview of the making of a protein:

Genes transcribe mRNA through a process that I will not explain here (animation)
mRNA exists nucleus through pores
mRNA gets translated into proteins at RER
N-acetyl glucosamiine attached to asparagine amino acid (process called N-glycosylation)
- helps protein fold, activating protein
- If mannose is attached instead, protein was detected as defective and it gets sent to be degraded (broken down) instead of getting sent through to the next step in the 'protein assembly line'
Protein goes from RER to Golgi Apparatus where it gets O-glycosylated with N-acetylgalactosamine attached to a serine. This signals cell to transport glycosylated protein to the membrane (or beyond it).

The fourth glyconutrient that was mentioned was glucose. We were talking about transporters and the professor used glucose transporter for her example.

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