BMC Bioinformatics 2014 10;15 Suppl 1:S9. Epub 2014 Jan 10.
Background: Recent progress in method development for characterising the branched structures of complex carbohydrates has now enabled higher throughput technology. Automation of structure analysis then calls for software development since adding meaning to large data collections in reasonable time requires corresponding bioinformatics methods and tools. Current glycobioinformatics resources do cover information on the structure and function of glycans, their interaction with proteins or their enzymatic synthesis. However, this information is partial, scattered and often difficult to find to for non-glycobiologists.
Methods: Following our diagnosis of the causes of the slow development of glycobioinformatics, we review the "objective" difficulties encountered in defining adequate formats for representing complex entities and developing efficient analysis software.
Results: Various solutions already implemented and strategies defined to bridge glycobiology with different fields and integrate the heterogeneous glyco-related information are presented.
Conclusions: Despite the initial stage of our integrative efforts, this paper highlights the rapid expansion of glycomics, the validity of existing resources and the bright future of glycobioinformatics.