Sialic acids are a family of acidic sugars, abundantly expressed by all vertebrates and also by some bacteria. The goals of our laboratory are two-fold:
- to understand how interactions between sialic acids and endogenous sialic acid-binding proteins regulate physiological processes in mammals,
- to utilize the knowledge to improve human health.
Our current focus is a family of sialic acid-binding proteins called Siglecs, most of which are expressed in the immune system. Our recent research has revealed that polymorphisms of some Siglecs likely have influence on human diseases and clinical conditions. We are at present trying to obtain deeper mechanistic insight into the molecular and physiological functions of Siglecs, and to reveal connections of Siglec polymorphisms and some other diseases, in hope that these studies will eventually enable us to develop diagnostic methods and/or treatments for the diseases in which sialic acids and Siglecs play some roles.