Glycans play multiple functional roles in living cells, from acting as energy sources to mediating intracellular signaling and cell-cell communications. Glycosylation is a common post-translational modification (PTM), known to occur in over 50% of human proteins. Understanding the structure of glycans, the nature and functions of protein glycosylation along with studying interactions between glycans and glycan-binding proteins are crucial developing indicators for disease and the study of pathogenic infections. The use of bioinformatic approaches and computational methods aids in reaching this goal. This paper aims to review some of the bioinformatics techniques and tools that are specifically developed and utilized for studying glycans and glycosylated proteins. While significant progress has been made, bioinformatics tools available for glycobiology are still not comparable to those developed for proteomics and genomics. On the other hand, glycans are ideal models for systems biology studies and it is expected that bioinformatics methods that encompass a systems approach will be very fruitful.
Keywords: Glycoproteins, Bioinformatics, biomarkers, glycan interaction, glycan profiling, glycomics, saccharides, polysaccharides, polypeptides, glycosaminoglycan, enormous, microheterogenities
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