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graphical representation of complex carbohydrates

Corne Stroop cjms at boc.chem.ruu.nl
Tue Dec 2 13:40:54 EST 1997

Karen Allendoerfer wrote:
> Dear Glycoscientists,
> I've now been given the advice to use simplified "schematics," that is,
> different shapes for different structures, something like a square for a
> glucose, a circle for a sialic acid, a triangle for a fucose, and so on,
> perhaps also using different colors for each sugar.  And to draw the
> different shapes attached to one another at different angles or in
> different places to represent the beta 1,3 vs. beta 1,4 linkages.
> Does this sound to anyone like it will work?  Is there already in the
> literature some sort of agreed-upon simplified schema that I could use
> rather than having to re-invent the wheel?
> How have others solved the problem of presenting their work to non-glyco
> people in a way to overcome their biases against the complexities of the
> nomenclature?
> Thanks,
> Karen Allendoerfer

Hello Karen,

Yes indeed, different shapes and different angles are the things you'll need.
Our lab (like many other labs) has been using that approach since the early
80's in presentations and articles(*). I think it is useful for a big group of
people, including medical scientists, non-scientists and also glycobiologists
(!). Even though the last group can understand the Gal(beta1,4)GlcNAc codes,
it's still more effecient to use the shorthand notations.

Yours sincerely,


(*) A recent example in my own work: Glycoconjugate Journal 12 (1995) 318-330. 

 Corne JM Stroop
 Department of Bio-Organic Chemistry
 Bijvoet Center for Biomolecular Research
 Padualaan 8
 NL-3584 CH  Utrecht, Netherlands
    PHONE: 31-30-2533752    FAX: 31-30-2540980
        E-MAIL: cjms at boc.chem.ruu.nl

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