An oligosaccharide (/ˌɑlɪgoʊˈsækəˌɹaɪd/;[1] from the Greek ὀλίγος olígos, "a few", and σάκχαρ sácchar, "sugar") is a saccharide polymer containing a small number (typically two to ten[2][3][4][5]) of monosaccharides (simple sugars). Oligosaccharides can have many functions including cell recognition and cell adhesion.[6]

They are normally present as glycans: oligosaccharide chains are linked to lipids or to compatible amino acid side chains in proteins, by N- or O-glycosidic bonds. N-Linked oligosaccharides are always pentasaccharides attached to asparagine via a beta linkage to the amine nitrogen of the side chain.[7] Alternately, O-linked oligosaccharides are generally attached to threonine or serine on the alcohol group of the side chain. Not all natural oligosaccharides occur as components of glycoproteins or glycolipids. Some, such as the raffinose series, occur as storage or transport carbohydrates in plants. Others, such as maltodextrins or cellodextrins, result from the microbial breakdown of larger polysaccharides such as starch or cellulose.

  1. ^ "Definition of OLIGOSACCHARIDE". www.merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2018-10-15.
  2. ^ Oligosaccharides at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  3. ^ Walstra P, Wouters JT, Geurts TJ (2008). Dairy Science and Technology (second ed.). CRC, Taylor & Francis.[page needed]
  4. ^ Whitney E, Rolfes SR (2008). Understanding Nutrition (Eleventh ed.). Thomson Wadsworth..[page needed]
  5. ^ "Oligosaccharide". Encyclopædia Britannica.
  6. ^ "Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition". Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  7. ^ Voet D, Voet J, Pratt C (2013). Fundamentals of Biochemistry: Life at the Molecular Level (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 978-0470-54784-7..[page needed]

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