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      Global view of human protein glycosylation pathways and functions

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          Is Open Access

          Pan-cancer analysis of whole genomes

          Cancer is driven by genetic change, and the advent of massively parallel sequencing has enabled systematic documentation of this variation at the whole-genome scale 1–3 . Here we report the integrative analysis of 2,658 whole-cancer genomes and their matching normal tissues across 38 tumour types from the Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes (PCAWG) Consortium of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). We describe the generation of the PCAWG resource, facilitated by international data sharing using compute clouds. On average, cancer genomes contained 4–5 driver mutations when combining coding and non-coding genomic elements; however, in around 5% of cases no drivers were identified, suggesting that cancer driver discovery is not yet complete. Chromothripsis, in which many clustered structural variants arise in a single catastrophic event, is frequently an early event in tumour evolution; in acral melanoma, for example, these events precede most somatic point mutations and affect several cancer-associated genes simultaneously. Cancers with abnormal telomere maintenance often originate from tissues with low replicative activity and show several mechanisms of preventing telomere attrition to critical levels. Common and rare germline variants affect patterns of somatic mutation, including point mutations, structural variants and somatic retrotransposition. A collection of papers from the PCAWG Consortium describes non-coding mutations that drive cancer beyond those in the TERT promoter 4 ; identifies new signatures of mutational processes that cause base substitutions, small insertions and deletions and structural variation 5,6 ; analyses timings and patterns of tumour evolution 7 ; describes the diverse transcriptional consequences of somatic mutation on splicing, expression levels, fusion genes and promoter activity 8,9 ; and evaluates a range of more-specialized features of cancer genomes 8,10–18 .
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            Glycosylation in cancer: mechanisms and clinical implications.

            Despite recent progress in understanding the cancer genome, there is still a relative delay in understanding the full aspects of the glycome and glycoproteome of cancer. Glycobiology has been instrumental in relevant discoveries in various biological and medical fields, and has contributed to the deciphering of several human diseases. Glycans are involved in fundamental molecular and cell biology processes occurring in cancer, such as cell signalling and communication, tumour cell dissociation and invasion, cell-matrix interactions, tumour angiogenesis, immune modulation and metastasis formation. The roles of glycans in cancer have been highlighted by the fact that alterations in glycosylation regulate the development and progression of cancer, serving as important biomarkers and providing a set of specific targets for therapeutic intervention. This Review discusses the role of glycans in fundamental mechanisms controlling cancer development and progression, and their applications in oncology.
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              Biological roles of glycans

              Ajit Varki (2016)
              Abstract Simple and complex carbohydrates (glycans) have long been known to play major metabolic, structural and physical roles in biological systems. Targeted microbial binding to host glycans has also been studied for decades. But such biological roles can only explain some of the remarkable complexity and organismal diversity of glycans in nature. Reviewing the subject about two decades ago, one could find very few clear-cut instances of glycan-recognition-specific biological roles of glycans that were of intrinsic value to the organism expressing them. In striking contrast there is now a profusion of examples, such that this updated review cannot be comprehensive. Instead, a historical overview is presented, broad principles outlined and a few examples cited, representing diverse types of roles, mediated by various glycan classes, in different evolutionary lineages. What remains unchanged is the fact that while all theories regarding biological roles of glycans are supported by compelling evidence, exceptions to each can be found. In retrospect, this is not surprising. Complex and diverse glycans appear to be ubiquitous to all cells in nature, and essential to all life forms. Thus, >3 billion years of evolution consistently generated organisms that use these molecules for many key biological roles, even while sometimes coopting them for minor functions. In this respect, glycans are no different from other major macromolecular building blocks of life (nucleic acids, proteins and lipids), simply more rapidly evolving and complex. It is time for the diverse functional roles of glycans to be fully incorporated into the mainstream of biological sciences.
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                Author and article information

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                Journal
                Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
                Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-0072
                1471-0080
                October 21 2020
                Article
                10.1038/s41580-020-00294-x
                33087899
                1ec05acc-7512-4799-b3c6-05693b697db3
                © 2020

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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