A nine-carbon amino sugar widely distributed in living organisms. One of the distinctions between eubacteria and archaebacteria is the presence of neuraminic acid in the cell walls of the former and its absence in the latter. In animals, neuraminic acid is found in mucolipids, mucopolysaccharides, and glycoproteins. Neuraminic acid-containing membrane components play a role in the attachment and penetration of virus particles into animal cells. See ganglioside.
Subjects: Chemistry — Genetics and Genomics.