Many biologically important interactions occur between proteins and carbohydrates. The examination of these interactions at the atomic level is critical not only in understanding the nature of these interactions and their biological role, but also in the design of effective modulators of these interactions. While experimentally obtained structural information is preferred, quite often this information is unavailable. In order to address this, several methods have been developed to probe the interactions between protein and carbohydrate in the absence of structural data. These methods map the interactions between protein and carbohydrate, and identify the groups involved, both at the carbohydrate and protein level. Here, we review these developments, and examine the strengths, weaknesses, and pitfalls of these methods.
Keywords: protein, carbohydrate interactions, alanine scanning, chemical mapping, molecular modeling, crystal structure
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