an Internet portal to support glycomics and glycobiology research

Glycobiology. 2006 May;16(5):71R-81R. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwj049. Epub 2005 Oct 20.


The development of glycan-related databases and bioinformatics applications is considerably lagging behind compared with the wealth of available data and software tools in genomics and proteomics. Because the encoding of glycan structures is more complex, most of the bioinformatics approaches cannot be applied to glycan structures. No standard procedures exist where glycan structures found in various species, organs, tissues or cells can be routinely deposited. In this article the concepts of the portal are described. It is demonstrated how an efficient structure-based cross-linking of various glycan-related data originating from different resources can be accomplished using a single user interface. The structure oriented retrieval options-exact structure, substructure, motif, composition and sugar components-are discussed. The types of available data-references, composition, spatial structures, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) shifts (experimental and estimated), theoretically calculated fragments and Protein Database (PDB) entries-are exemplified for Man(3.) The free availability and unrestricted use of glycan-related data is an absolute prerequisite to efficiently share distributed resources. Additionally, there is an urgent need to agree to a generally accepted exchange format as well as to a common software interface. An open access repository for glyco-related experimental data will secure that the loss of primary data will be considerably reduced.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computational Biology*
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval
  • Internet*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Research*
  • User-Computer Interface


  • Polysaccharides