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Glycobiology Analysis Manual

2nd Edition

Basic Monosaccharides

Monosaccharides, also known as simple sugars, are the core building blocks used to assemble complex glycans.  Monosaccharides can be classified according to the number of carbon atoms they contain (trioses, tetroses, pentoses, hexoses, and heptoses).  The sugars are further classified by specific functional groups or sugar modifications that they contain, including loss of hydroxyl groups (deoxy, dideoxy) and substitution (amino sugars, sugar alcohols, sugar acids, ketoses, lactones).  In addition to functional substitution, the chirality of the monosaccharide is of fundamental importance.  With some exceptions, the D-enantiomers primarily occur in nature.

Key to Monosaccharide symbols, Abbreviations, and Projections

The following table shows abbreviations, structure projections using 3-D chair, Haworth and Fischer images, and accepted symbols of the monosaccharides and variants most commonly used in the field of glycobiology.  These symbols are used for subsequent structure images in this manual.

Monosaccharides Key

Monosaccharides Key

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