Glycosylation, an important and nearly ubiquitous form of post-translational modification in eukaryotes, has been studied for its clinical applications. Its complex nature and heterogeneity of functions in the human body has allowed researchers to take multiple approaches in applying it to modern medicine. These approaches include glycosylation of pharmaceuticals to improve delivery; using glycosylation as vaccine/drug targets; editing the glycosylation pattern of immune system components; and profiling glycosylation signatures of diseases for diagnostic tests. In addition, glycosylation has also been used as a tool in developing potential therapeutics for the COVID-19 pandemic. This review covers and summarizes recent, interesting findings associated with the various approaches in the clinical study of glycosylation and aims to inspire future research in this promising direction.
Yichi Zhang* and Lichun Sun