Structure and function of vertebrate CMP-sialic acid synthetase
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Activation of sugars into nucleotide sugars is critical for their entry into biosynthetic pathways. In eukaryotic cells, the activation of the acidic nine-carbon sugar sialic acid to CMP-sialic acid takes place in the cell nucleus, whereas all other nucleotide sugars are made in the cytoplasm. Molecular cloning of vertebrate CMP-sialic acid synthetases confirmed the nuclear localization and introduced new molecular tools for directly exploring the functional mechanisms of the enzymes, as well as the physiological relevance of their nuclear transport. Although major advances have been made in understanding structure-function relationships and defining elements involved in the nuclear transport, the riddle surrounding the physiological relevance of nuclear localization awaits resolution.
This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Glycobiology following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Glycobiology 2004 14(10):43R-51R is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/glycob/cwh113 .