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Drug Discov Today. 2010 Aug;15(15-16):596-609. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2010.06.001. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Molecular simulations of carbohydrates and protein-carbohydrate interactions: motivation, issues and prospects.

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  • 1School of Chemistry, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.


The characterization of the 3D structure of oligosaccharides, their conjugates and analogs is particularly challenging for traditional experimental methods. Molecular simulation methods provide a basis for interpreting sparse experimental data and for independently predicting conformational and dynamic properties of glycans. Here, we summarize and analyze the issues associated with modeling carbohydrates, with a detailed discussion of four of the most recently developed carbohydrate force fields, reviewed in terms of applicability to natural glycans, carbohydrate-protein complexes and the emerging area of glycomimetic drugs. In addition, we discuss prospectives and new applications of carbohydrate modeling in drug discovery.

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