Numerous signal-transduction-related molecules are secreted proteins or membrane proteins, and the mechanism by which these molecules are regulated by glycan chains is a very important issue for developing an understanding of the cellular events that transpire. This review covers the functional regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), ErbB3 and the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) receptor by N-glycans. This review shows that the N-glycans play important roles in regulating protein conformation and interactions with carbohydrate recognition molecules. These results point to the possibility of a novel strategy for controlling cell signalling and developing novel glycan-based therapeutics.

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