The effects of amino sugars on cell viability have been evaluated using bacteria as well. The growth of Escherichia coli ML308 and K12 was inhibited by N-io-doacetamido-GlcN [43]. Further experiments indicated this compound inhibits the uptake of methyl-a-d-glucoside by the bacterial cells, although complete inhibition was never observed. This effect is not surprising, considering that iodoacetamide reacts with several amino acid residues, such as Cys and His, and also with certain amino groups. It is possible that the iodoacetamide analogs irreversibly alkylated a key glucose transporter.

Korytnyk and coworkers tested several pentaacetylhexosamine analogs for tumor cell toxicity and also evaluated their effects on glycoprotein biosynthesis [44]. Peracetylated GlcNAc inhibited the incorporation of [14C]GlcN into glycoproteins to a much greater extent than peracetylated GalNAc or ManNAc. However, protein biosynthesis was unaffected, as determined by levels of [3H]leucine incorporation.

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