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Nat Methods. 2005 Nov;2(11):817-24.

Glycomics: an integrated systems approach to structure-function relationships of glycans.

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  • 1Biological Engineering Division, Center for Biomedical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Abstract

In comparison with genomics and proteomics, the advancement of glycomics has faced unique challenges in the pursuit of developing analytical and biochemical tools and biological readouts to investigate glycan structure-function relationships. Glycans are more diverse in terms of chemical structure and information density than are DNA and proteins. This diversity arises from glycans' complex nontemplate-based biosynthesis, which involves several enzymes and isoforms of these enzymes. Consequently, glycans are expressed as an 'ensemble' of structures that mediate function. Moreover, unlike protein-protein interactions, which can be generally viewed as 'digital' in regulating function, glycan-protein interactions impinge on biological functions in a more 'analog' fashion that can in turn 'fine-tune' a biological response. This fine-tuning by glycans is achieved through the graded affinity, avidity and multivalency of their interactions. Given the importance of glycomics, this review focuses on areas of technologies and the importance of developing a bioinformatics platform to integrate the diverse datasets generated using the different technologies to allow a systems approach to glycan structure-function relationships.

PMID:
16278650
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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