Insights into bacterial protein glycosylation in human microbiota

Fan Zhu, Hui Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The study of human microbiota is an emerging research topic. The past efforts have mainly centered on studying the composition and genomic landscape of bacterial species within the targeted communities. The interaction between bacteria and hosts is the pivotal event in the initiation and progression of infectious diseases. There is a great need to identify and characterize the molecules that mediate the bacteria-host interaction. Bacterial surface exposed proteins play an important role in the bacteria- host interaction. Numerous surface proteins are glycosylated, and the glycosylation is crucial for their function in mediating the bacterial interaction with hosts. Here we present an overview of surface glycoproteins from bacteria that inhabit three major mucosal environments across human body: oral, gut and skin. We describe the important enzymes involved in the process of protein glycosylation, and discuss how the process impacts the bacteria-host interaction. Emerging molecular details underlying glycosylation of bacterial surface proteins may lead to new opportunities for designing anti-infective small molecules, and developing novel vaccines in order to treat or prevent bacterial infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalScience China Life Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • bacteria-host interaction
  • glycosylation
  • glycosyltransferase
  • microbiota
  • surface glycoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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