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Glycoconjugate vaccines have contributed enormously to reducing and controlling encapsulated bacterial infections for over thirty years. Glycoconjugate vaccines are based on a carbohydrate antigen that is covalently linked to a carrier protein; this is necessary to cause T cell responses for optimal immunogenicity, and to protect young children. Many interdependent parameters affect the immunogenicity of glycoconjugate vaccines, including the size of the saccharide antigen. Here, we examine and discuss the impact of glycan chain length on the efficacy of glycoconjugate vaccines and report the methods employed to size polysaccharide antigens, while highlighting the underlying reaction mechanisms. A better understanding of the impact of key parameters on the immunogenicity of glycoconjugates is critical to developing a new generation of highly effective vaccines.

Original publication




Journal article


Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)

Publication Date





Department of Biomolecular Sciences, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, 61029 Urbino, Italy.


Humans, Carbohydrates, Glycoconjugates, Polysaccharides, Carrier Proteins, Vaccines, Conjugate, Antigens, Child, Child, Preschool, Sugars