Heparin and heparan sulfate have been shown to interact with a large number of biologically important proteins regulating important physiological processes. Specific oligosaccharide structures within the heterogeneous polysaccharide chains are responsible for the binding to individual proteins. Identification of specific protein-binding oligosaccharides provides lead compounds in pharmaceutical development and in one case has already resulted in an approved drug. The chemical and biosynthetic basis of the molecular diversity of heparin and heparan sulfate, its manifestation in heparin-protein interactions, and recent progress for drug development offered by this diversity are reviewed.
Keywords: heparin, heparan sulfate, carbohydrate-protein interactions, diversity, lead compounds, drug development
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport