Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences

Reader in Biological Chemistry



+44 (0)20 7594 5281m.taylor




607Sir Ernst Chain BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Molecular function of sugar-binding receptors in cellular recognition events

Specific arrangements of sugars decorate the surfaces of cells and are attached to proteins released from cells into the circulation and other extracellular spaces. These glycans serve as recognition signals that are bound by special receptors. In animals, many of these receptors bind to endogenous carbohydrate structures, forming the basis for cell-cell adhesion and for the selective removal of proteins from circulation. Other receptors bind foreign carbohydrates on the surfaces of potentially pathogenic micro-organisms and form part of the innate, antibody-independent immune system. Many sugar-binding receptors contain related carbohydrate-recognition domains and mutations in some of these proteins are associated with susceptibility to disease.


This research is a joint project with Professor Kurt Drickamer, who is also in the Division of Molecular Biosciences. A combination of biochemical, biophysical and molecular biological approaches allows us to understand how carbohydrate-recognition domains work together to provide selective recognition of glycoproteins and cell surfaces. We also seek to determine how such recognition leads to targeting of biological functions and how genetic variation in sugar-binding receptors causes changes in their molecular properties and hence contributes to human disease. Of particular interest are sugar-binding receptors found on cells of the immune system such as macrophages and dendritic cells. In addition to biochemical studies, we are using techniques of cell biology to determine how these receptors traffic within cells to mediate phagocytosis or endocytosis of micro-organisms or foreign proteins. These studies aim to give insight into how sugar-binding receptors are involved in infection of cells with micro-organisms causing diseases such as AIDS, SARS, tuberculosis and leprosy.



Feinberg H, Jégouzo SAF, Lasanajak Y, et al., 2021, Structural analysis of carbohydrate binding by the macrophage mannose receptor CD206, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol:296, ISSN:0021-9258, Pages:1-18

Feinberg H, Rambaruth ND, Jégouzo SA, et al., 2021, Binding sites for acylated trehalose analogs of glycolipid ligands on an extended carbohydrate-recognition domain of the macrophage receptor mincle, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol:291, ISSN:1083-351X, Pages:21222-21233

Jégouzo SAF, Nelson C, Hardwick T, et al., 2020, Mammalian lectin arrays for screening host–microbe interactions, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol:295, ISSN:0021-9258, Pages:4541-4555

Jégouzo SAF, Feinberg H, Morrison A, et al., 2019, CD23 is a glycan-binding receptor in some mammalian species, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol:294, ISSN:0021-9258, Pages:14845-14859

Taylor ME, Drickamer K, 2019, Mammalian sugar-binding receptors: known functions and unexplored roles, Febs Journal, Vol:286, ISSN:1742-464X, Pages:1800-1814

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