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Glycomic Insights from Oxford University into the Multi-functional Role of Trehalose
Glycomic Insights from Oxford University into the Multi-functional Role of Trehalose

Comments by J. C. Spencer

A few years ago the view on the role of the sugar trehalose was that it served as a storehouse of glucose for energy and for synthesis of certain cellular components. Since then, knowledge on the multi-functions trehalose has greatly expanded; it functions in some organisms in a structural or transport role while in some cells it is involved in signaling and regulation, and functions to protect membranes and proteins against the adverse effects of stresses.

While trehalose is not normally found in the human body, humans do have the enzyme trehalase in intestinal villae cells and in kidney brush border cells. This apparently is to metabolize and/or transport ingested trehalose. There is growing evidence that accumulated cytoplasmic trehalose protects proteins and membranes from denaturation caused by stresses.

I am sure there are other functions for this simple but very diverse sugar that are yet to be determined. Additional studies on trehalose are needed to address these unknowns.

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Last Updated ( Aug 07, 2010 at 10:43 AM )