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Curr Med Chem. 2017 Nov 24;24(36):4057-4080. doi: 10.2174/0929867324666170217093702.

Glycans in Infectious Diseases. A Molecular Recognition Perspective.

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CIC bioGUNE, Bizkaia Technology Park, Building 801A, 48170 Derio, Spain.
Departament of Organic Chemistry II, Faculty of Science & Technology, University of the Basque Country, 48940 Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain.
UCIBIO, REQUIMTE, Departamento de Quimica, Faculdade de Ciencias e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2829-516, Caparica, Portugal.
Dipartimento di Chimica "Ugo Schiff", UniversitĂ  degli Studi di Firenze, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino (FI), Italy.
Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science, Maria Diaz de Haro 13, 48009 Bilbao, Spain.



From the simplest bacteria to the highest complex mammals, including humans, every single cell is covered by a dense coat of glycans. Glycans are involved in almost every biological process that takes place in our body, playing a central role in the communication between cells and their environment. Glycans are also involved in infectious diseases, which arise from the specific interaction between glycans of the pathogen cell coat and specific receptors on the host cell or vice versa.


The understanding of the mechanisms governing these specific carbohydrateprotein interactions, at atomic and molecular levels, is crucial to develop new drugs able to block the infection and to avoid the disease.


Recent advances in biophysical techniques allow for a complete picture of the hostpathogen infection event, unveiling the key aspects of the molecular interaction and, thus, providing an opportunity to interfere with it.


In this general review, we discuss some recent contributions, providing a summary of what we consider the most innovative and inspiring research lines to the field.


Glycans; NMR; X-ray; bacterial infection; lectin; molecular recognition; viral infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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