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CARBOHYDRATES: OLIGO-
AND POLYSACCHARIDES
OPTOM FASLU MUHAMMED
Carbohydrates
• Monosaccharides (simple sugars)
cannot be broken down into simpler
sugars under mild conditions
• Oligosaccharides = "a few" - usually
2 to 10
• Polysaccharides are polymers of the
simple sugars
Glycosidic
Linkage
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
OH
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
OH
H2O
H2O
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
O
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
alcohol
hemiacetal
glycosidic linkage
Hydrolysis
Condensation
acetal
Disaccharides
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
O
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OHH
H
H
H
H
H
H H
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
O
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
H
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
H
O
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
H
OH
H
H
H
H
H
H
maltose cellobiose
lactose
sucrose
(α-D-glucosyl-(1->4)-β-D-glucopyranose)
(β-D-glucosyl-(1->4)-β-D-glucopyranose)
(β-D-galactosyl-(1->4)-β-D-glucopyranose)
(α-D-glucosyl-(1->2)-β-D-fructofuranose)
O
CH2OH
OH
OH
OH
H
H
H
H
O
CH2OH
H
H
OH
OH
H
O
CH2OH
Higher Oligosaccharides
Oligosaccharide groups are incorporated
in to many drug structures
Polysaccharides
• Nomenclature: homopolysaccharide vs.
heteropolysaccharide
• Starch and glycogen are storage
molecules
• Chitin and cellulose are structural
molecules
• Cell surface polysaccharides are
recognition molecules
Starch
• A plant storage polysaccharide
• Two forms: amylose and amylopectin
• Most starch is 10-30% amylose and 70-90%
amylopectin
• Average amylose chain length 100 to 1000
residues
• Branches in amylopectin every 25 residues (15-
25 residues) α-1->6 linkages
• Amylose has α-1->4 links, one reducing end
Amylose and Amylopectin
Starch
• Amylose is poorly
soluble in water,
but forms micellar
suspensions
• In these
suspensions,
amylose is helical
Glycogen
• Storage polysaccharide in animals
• Glycogen constitutes up to 10% of liver mass
and 1-2% of muscle mass
• Glycogen is stored energy for the organism
• Only difference from starch: number of
branches
• Alpha(1,6) branches every 8-12 residues
• Like amylopectin, glycogen gives a red-violet
color with iodine
glycogen
Dextrans
• If you change the main linkages between
glucose from alpha(1,4) to alpha(1,6), you get a
new family of polysaccharides - dextrans
• Branches can be (1,2), (1,3), or (1,4)
• Dextrans formed by bacteria are components of
dental plaque
• Cross-linked dextrans are used as "Sephadex"
gels in column chromatography
• These gels are up to 98% water!
Dextrans
Cellulose
• Cellulose is the most abundant
natural polymer on earth
• Cellulose is the principal
strength and support of trees
and plants
• Cellulose can also be soft and
fuzzy - in cotton
Cellulose
Cellulose vs Amylose
Glucose units rotated 180o
relative to next residue
cellulose
amylose
Cellulose
• Beta(1,4) linkages make all the difference!
• Strands of cellulose form extended ribbons
• Interchain H-bonding allows multi-chain
interactions. Forms cable like structures.
Chitin
• exoskeletons of crustaceans, insects and
spiders, and cell walls of fungi
• similar to cellulose, but instead of glucose
uses N-acetyl glucosamine (C-2s are N-
acetyl instead of –OH)
∀ β-1->4 linked N-acetylglucosamine units
• cellulose strands are parallel, chitins can
be parallell or antiparallel
O
CH2OH
NH
OH
H
OH
H
OH
H
H
C O
CH3
Chitin
Chitin vs Cellulose
Glycoproteins
• May be N-linked or O-linked
• N-linked saccharides are
attached via the amide nitrogens
of asparagine residues
• O-linked saccharides are
attached to hydroxyl groups of
serine, threonine or hydroxylysine
O-linked Glycoproteins
• Function in many cases is to
adopt an extended conformation
• These extended conformations
resemble "bristle brushes"
• Bristle brush structure extends
functional domains up from
membrane surface
O-linked Glycoproteins
Blood ABO Antigens
Structure of the ABO blood group
carbohydrates,
R represents the linkage to protein
in the secreted forms, sphingolipid
in the cell-surface bound form
open square = GlcNAc, open diamond
= galactose, filled square = fucose,
filled diamond = GalNAc, filled
diamond = sialic acid (NANA)
N-linked Glycoproteins
• Oligosaccharides can alter the chemical and
physical properties of proteins
• Oligosaccharides can stabilize protein
conformations and/or protect against proteolysis
• Cleavage of monosaccharide units from N-linked
glycoproteins in blood targets them for
degradation in the liver
• Involved in targeting proteins to specific
subcellular compartments
N-linked Glycoproteins

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Carbohydrates