The biological importance of glycoproteins has only partially translated into a wealth of detection reagents and kits. Commercial products are available, says UCSD's Ajit Varki, "But in general, the availability of reagents for the world of glycobiology is not as broad as standard molecular biology." Here are some basic off-the-shelf options:

1. Glycan-specific gel stains

Several companies sell glycoprotein-specific staining reagents based on the oxidation of sugars to aldehydes in the presence of periodate. You can then detect aldehydes via a variety of staining reagents, either in a test tube, on a gel, or following blotting.

Invitrogen's Pro-Q Emerald 300 Glycoprotein Gel Stain Kit ($160) detects glycans via a fluorescent dye, as does Sigma-Aldrich's GlycoProfile III Fluorescent Glycoprotein Detection Kit ($192). The Pierce GelCode Glycoprotein Staining Kit ($204) from Thermo Fisher Scientific is a colorimetric assay,...

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