ConspectusNot only are glycan-mediated binding processes in cells and organisms essential for a wide range of physiological processes, but they are also implicated in various pathological processes. As a result, elucidation of glycan-associated biomolecular interactions and their consequences is of great importance in basic biological research and biomedical applications. In 2002, we and others were the first to utilize glycan microarrays in efforts aimed at the rapid analysis of glycan-associated recognition events. Because they contain a number of glycans immobilized in a dense and orderly manner on a solid surface, glycan microarrays enable multiple parallel analyses of glycan-protein binding events while utilizing only small amounts of glycan samples. Therefore, this microarray technology has become a leading edge tool in studies aimed at elucidating roles played by glycans and glycan binding proteins in biological systems. In this Account, we summarize our efforts on the construction of glycan microarrays and their applications in studies of glycan-associated interactions. Immobilization strategies of functionalized and unmodified glycans on derivatized glass surfaces are described. Although others have developed immobilization techniques, our efforts have focused on improving the efficiencies and operational simplicity of microarray construction. The microarray-based technology has been most extensively used for rapid analysis of the glycan binding properties of proteins. In addition, glycan microarrays have been employed to determine glycan-protein interactions quantitatively, detect pathogens, and rapidly assess substrate specificities of carbohydrate-processing enzymes. More recently, the microarrays have been employed to identify functional glycans that elicit cell surface lectin-mediated cellular responses. Owing to these efforts, it is now possible to use glycan microarrays to expand the understanding of roles played by glycans and glycan binding proteins in biological systems.
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