The glycome is considered the third language of life after the genome and the proteome. It comprises the myriad of sugars, also known as the complex carbohydrates, which cover the surface of our proteins and cells. Complex carbohydrates are essential for fundamental cellular functions, and changes to the glycome are often correlated with increased susceptibility to infection, metabolic disease and cancer. Additionally, hereditary defects in the glycome can cause a wide variety of symptoms such as cognitive impairment and developmental disability.
Copenhagen Center for Glycomics (CCG) takes a genetic approach to explore and map the function of glycans. Gene editing via CRISPR/Cas9, Zinc finger Nucleases and TALENs is applied to interrogate the structure and function of glycogenes, and to precisely engineer cells with specific glycosylation capacities. By deconstructing, assigning and manipulating the glycosylation machinery in mammalian cells, we aim to understand how glycans impinge on the biology of cells during tissue formation, inflammation, immunity and cancer growth, and how this can be exploited for early detection and treatment of disease.