Glyco-scope into the role of protein glycosylation in the female reproductive tract

Abdulrahman M. Shathili*, David C. L. Handler, Nicolle H. Packer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Aberrant glycosylation, in abundance or type, influences the overall physiology of tissues and the functions of proteins. This review is focused on the role of glycosylation in the reproductive process in the female reproductive tract from a glycoprotein perspective. Many biological events are essential to allow for sperm-egg fertilisation in oviduct and subsequent blastocyst implantation in a receptive uterus during the window of implantation, including adhesion and proliferation. The process of blastocyst implantation is managed by a series of orchestrated events among several glycoproteins found on the surface of oviduct and uterine tissues. A change in the molecular surface of the oviduct and uterine tissues, such as the glycosylation of its membrane proteins, would affect the blastocyst journey through the female reproductive tract. In particular, the glycosylation presented by the mucins on the surface of the oviduct and uterus in diabetes, that is associated with reduced embryo implantation rates, is highlighted since these heavily glycosylated proteins have been shown to play an important role in blastocyst implantation. An understanding of the glycosylation changes to the surface of the oviduct and uterus has potential for the development of a test for uterine receptivity and may provide the next leap forward for the treatment of infertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E53-E61
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Glycoscience and Glycotechnology
Issue number186
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Glycan epitopes
  • uterine receptivity
  • MUC1
  • diabetes
  • mass spectrometry

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