Cell Physiology and Glycobiology

Alteration of cell-surface glycosylation is one of the characteristic traits associated with cancer progression. The presence of certain glycan structures correlates with enhanced tumor cell: invasiveness, dissociation, dissemination through the blood circulation; and metastasis in distant organs. Glycan-binding receptors – lectins facilitates cell-cell interaction within the microenvironment, such as endothelial cells, stromal cells and the blood constituents (leukocytes, platelets). Glycan-lectin interactions have a variety of function during cancer progression, including cell-recruitment (selectins), cell survival (galectins) and immunomodulation (siglecs). Our group explores the molecular mechanisms and potential therapeutic consequences of glycan sensing on tumor progression and metastasis with the focus on epithelial physiology and pathophysiology.