All-atom ensemble modeling to analyze small-angle x-ray scattering of glycosylated proteins

Structure. 2013 Mar 5;21(3):321-31. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2013.02.004.


The flexible and heterogeneous nature of carbohydrate chains often renders glycoproteins refractory to traditional structure determination methods. Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) can be a useful tool for obtaining structural information of these systems. All-atom modeling of glycoproteins with flexible glycan chains was applied to interpret the solution SAXS data for a set of glycoproteins. For simpler systems (single glycan, with a well-defined protein structure), all-atom modeling generates models in excellent agreement with the scattering pattern and reveals the approximate spatial occupancy of the glycan chain in solution. For more complex systems (several glycan chains, or unknown protein substructure), the approach can still provide insightful models, though the orientations of glycans become poorly determined. Ab initio shape reconstructions appear to capture the global morphology of glycoproteins but in most cases offer little information about glycan spatial occupancy. The all-atom modeling methodology is available as a web server at

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Computer Simulation
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry*
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Scattering, Small Angle
  • Software*
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Glycoproteins
  • Polysaccharides