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Synthetic Studies of Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) Anchors and GPI-Anchored Peptides, Glycopeptides, and Proteins

[ Vol. 10 , Issue. 3 ]


Zhongwu Guo   Pages 366 - 383 ( 18 )


Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchorage of proteins and glycoproteins onto the cell surface is ubiquitous in eukaryotes, and GPI-anchored proteins and glycoproteins play an important role in many biological processes. To study GPI anchorage and explore the functions of GPIs and GPI-anchored proteins and glycoproteins, it is essential to have access to these molecules in homogeneous and structurally defined forms. This review is focused on the progress that our laboratory has made towards the chemical and chemoenzymatic synthesis of structurally defined GPI anchors and GPI-anchored peptides, glycopeptides, and proteins. Briefly, highly convergent strategies were developed for GPI synthesis and were employed to successfully synthesize a number of GPIs, including those carrying unsaturated lipids and other useful functionalities such as the azido and alkynyl groups. The latter enabled further site-specific modification of GPIs by click chemistry. GPI-linked peptides, glycopeptides, and proteins were prepared by regioselective chemical coupling of properly protected GPIs and peptides/glycopeptides or through site-specific ligation of synthetic GPIs and peptides/ glycopeptides/proteins under the influence of sortase A. The investigation of interactions between GPI anchors and pore-forming bacterial toxins by means of synthetic GPI anchors and GPI analogs is also discussed.


Glycosylphosphatidylinositol, GPI, Carbohydrate, Peptide, Glycopeptide, Protein, Glycolipid, Sortase


Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University, 5101 Cass Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.

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