What Are Glycoproteins And What Do They Do?

Glycoproteins serve a number of important functions in the human body including providing structural support, lubrication, assisting with the immune system and have a role in every other biological function studied thus far. The molecules are produced in abundance in the body’s cells and have been under intense study for some time. Simply put, a glycoprotein is a protein strand with an attached sugar (glycan) molecule.

Proteins are large complex molecules consisting of a combination of the twenty amino acids, the basic building block of proteins. When the strand is linear and consist of a chain of 20-30 amino acids, the strand is referred to as a polypeptide. The specific sequence of the amino acids is critical to the function of the polypeptide. Proteins are used by the body to replicate DNA, repair muscle, transport cellular matter within the body and help with metabolic functions.


Glycans are a group of molecules that are more appropriately called saccharides and include sugars, starches and cellulose. Within this group are oligosaccharides which contain the simple sugars like fruit sugars or fructose. Glycans, like proteins, perform many different biologically important functions.

When a polypeptide chain has attached to it a molecule of saccharide the combined molecule becomes a glycoprotein. The attachment is done by covalently, meaning that individual atoms share electrons in a chemical bond. The saccharide component of the glycoprotein can range from less than one percent up to 80% of the molecular weight.

The production of these molecules (called glycosylated) is usually done within the cell by the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a network of structures attached to the cell nucleus while the Golgi apparatus is another organelle that collects and packages together various molecules transferred from the ER.

Glycoproteins are produced in three types: N-linked, O-linked and nonenzymatic. The N-linked glycoproteins have the saccharide molecule attached to the nitrogen atoms of the amino acid asparagine. The sugar molecules of N-linked glycoproteins are added as complex multi-chained molecules.

O-linked glycoproteins add their saccharides as single sugars and are attached to the hydroxyl side chain of amino acids serine or threonine. These glycoproteins are usually secreted out of the cell into the extracellular matrix

Nonenzymatic glycoproteins are polypeptides that have over time simply had sugar molecules added to them as they became available. In patients with excess blood glucose levels, the nonenzymatic glycoprotein production can be quite high. A diagnostic test for diabetes, the A1C blood test, measures this excess production.

The high molecular weight of glycoproteins and their hydrophilic behavior means they are abundant in the mucus secreted by the respiratory, digestive and urinary systems. Glycoproteins also play a role in the cervical tract by regulating the entry of sperm. They also can serve as lubricants in the body such as the those found on the eye’s cornea which keeps the eyes from drying out as well as protecting it from dust, dirt and other foreign objects.

Glycoproteins are also found in the matrices providing support for the cell membranes by acting as receptors for collagen, playing an important role in the adhesion of cells to other cells and other substrates. They also are involved in arranging the structure in cartilage.

Some glycoproteins play an important function in blood clotting, and one glycoprotein is responsible for a person’s blood type. Many of these molecules are found in blood plasma where they act as an enzyme to prevent protein destruction. White blood cells often have glycoproteins on their surfaces which attract and bind some bacterias.

In animals, glycoproteins are the basis for the slime covering a fish’s scales which protects the fish and allows for better hydrodynamic movement through the water. One glycoprotein has been identified as having a role in the hibernation of bears, and another found in the blood plasma of Antarctic fish help protect the animal from freezing. Some beetles secrete a glycoprotein from their pygidial glands that covers the body and hardens to provide protection against attack by bacteria and fungi.

The mechanisms for regulating glycoproteins is currently not well understood but is the subject of a lot of biochemical research. Since the production of glycoproteins is expensive to an organism in terms of the energy and resources required, it stands to reason that they are important molecules for the livelihood of the organism. For the best possible combination of Glycoproteins, we recommend Spartagen XT, but if you are still not convinced, please read this article detailing why Spartagen XT outperforms other testosterone boosters: http://www.spartagenxtx.com

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