Understanding of the biosynthesis of plant cell wall polysaccharides is lacking at present. More attention has been paid to the synthesis of other carbohydrate sink-materials such as starch and sucrose and progress in the study of wall polysaccharides has been more directed towards understanding turnover up to the present time. The main reasons for this deficiency are the potential number and complexity of enzymes required for wall polysaccharide synthesis, difficulty in their purification and the consequent lack of identified genes. This review illustrates the progress in the light of work in the author's laboratory which has been directed towards improving identification of the enzymes involved. Wider progress in the field is reviewed that has led to identification of the first set of polysaccharide synthase genes. Some aspects of regulation of cell wall polysaccharide synthesis during growth, differentiation and biotic stress are also highlighted. Progress in engineering the polysaccharide content of walls is also reviewed.
There is a growing appreciation of biologically important oligosaccharide units involved in glycoconjugates. As the functions of oligosaccharides in biology became apparent, the efficient synthesis of these substances has become of greater interest. This review describes practical synthesis of di-, tri- and tetrasaccharide units through mainly glycosidase-mediated transglycosylation. A survey of the studied enzymes: β-D-galactosidase, N-acetylhexosaminidase, α-L-fucosidase, β-D-mannanase and α-D-mannosidase, show them to be very useful for the practical synthesis of biologically important oligosaccharides and their derivatives.
“LIPIDBANK for Web” is a new database system offering information on lipids over the Internet. This database was developed through a joint research project between the International Medical Center of Japan and the Japan Science and Technology Corporation from 1996 to 1999. It is composed of three parts: the factual data including name of the lipid, chemical and physical properties, information on biological activities, genetic information, etc., the graphic data including picture and figure, and the related reference data. This is the first lipid database open to the world through the internet from Japan. This article describes its' brief history and how to search the glycolipid data from “LIPIDBANK for Web”