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There are about twenty different sialyltransferases which can be distinguished on the basis of the acceptor structure on which they act and on the type of sugar linkage they form. For example, a group of sialyltransferases adds sialic acid with an alpha2,3 linkage to galactose, while other sialyltransferases add sialic acid with an alpha2,6 linkage to galactose or N-acetylgalactosamine. A peculiar type of sialyltransferases add sialic acid to other sialic acid units with an alpha 2,8 linkage, forming structures referred to as polysialic acid. As occurs for other glycosyltransferases, the expression of sialyltransferases undergoes profound modifications during cell differentiation and neoplastic transformation; in some cases such changes induce phenotypic alterations.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sialyltransferase". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|