The Third Alphabet of Life: Carbohydrate-Protein Interactions


Abstract: The structural diversity of oligosaccharides found in glycoconjugates is enormous. This is due to the number of different ways in which sugar monomers may be linked to each other regarding linkage position, anomeric configuration, pyranosidic or furanosidic ring form and chain branching. It has been proposed that these factors contribute to the exquisite potential of oligosaccharides to establish a code system of biological information. The information contained in these structures is decoded by complementary sites present on carbohydrate binding proteins (lectins).

Keywords: Biological code, carbohydrate, lectin, differentiation, development

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