Recent Approaches for Directly Profiling Cell Surface Sialoform.

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Sialic acids (SAs) are nine-carbon monosaccharides existing at the terminal location of glycan structures on the cell surface and secreted glycoconjugates. The expression levels and linkages of SAs on cells and tissues, collectively known as sialoform, present the hallmark of the cells and tissues of different systems and conditions. Accordingly, detecting or profiling cell surface sialoforms is very critical for understanding the function of cell surface glycans and glycoconjugates and even the molecular mechanisms of their underlying biological processes. Further, it may provide therapeutic and diagnostic applications for different diseases. In the past decades, several kinds of SA-specific binding molecules have been developed for detecting and profiling specific sialoforms of cells and tissues; the experimental materials have expanded from frozen tissue to living cells; and the analytical technologies have advanced from histochemistry to fluorescent imaging, flow cytometry and microarrays. This review summarizes the recent bioaffinity approaches for directly detecting and profiling specific SAs or sialylglycans, and their modifications of different cells and tissues.