Background: 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.
Objective: 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.
Methods: 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.
Conclusion: 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.