Four-dimensional Structures and Molecular Designs of Glycans

Koichi Kato, Hirokazu Yagi, Saeko Yanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The three-dimensional glycan structures dynamically fluctuate in aqueous solutions. The dynamics of these molecular structures govern the interactions with sugar-recognizing molecules and are deeply involved in regulating the functions of sugar-bearing proteins. In glycotechnology and drug discovery targeting the glycan recognition systems, it is crucial to quantitatively understand the conformation of glycans bound to target molecules and the three-dimensional structural dynamics of unbound glycans. By modifying the conformational space of unbound glycans, it is possible to improve their affinity for lectins. Furthermore, the glycans constituting a glycoprotein also influence the conformational dynamics of the protein part. Therefore, in the molecular design of glycoproteins aiming for higher functionality, it is essential to consider the existence of an intramolecular interaction network where the glycan chains and the protein are integrated. Approaches from the perspective of experimental science, computational science, and information science will become increasingly important to decipher the biological information carried by the four-dimensional structures of glycans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E85-E90
JournalTrends in Glycoscience and Glycotechnology
Issue number201
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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