Discovering the Subtleties of Sugars

3rd Beilstein Glyco-Bioinformatics Symposium 2013

10 – 14 June 2013

avendi Hotel am Griebnitzsee, Potsdam, Germany

Scientific program: Carsten Kettner, Martin G. Hicks and Peter H. Seeberger

Proceedings of this Beilstein Glyco-Bioinformatics Symposium.


The appreciation and understanding of the role that carbohydrates play in nature has grown over the last few years driven by the advances in our ability to analyze and synthesize their structures.

Their role not only as primary energy-storage molecules but also as structural modifiers of e.g. glycoproteins and glycolipids, as well as in physiological and pathological events such as adherence, cell-cell interaction, transport, signaling and protection is becoming clearer and more accessible to researchers. Over the last decade the fields of glycobiology and glycochemistry in combination with in-silico applications have been augmented by a further field - glycomics. A major aim of glycomics research is to achieve a comprehensive identification and characterization of the repertoire of glycan structures present in an organism, cell or tissue at a defined time. The continual improvement of analysis methods and computational techniques leads to glycan characterization and identification with increased depth, speed and efficiency but also generates ever increasing amounts of data of variable quality and completeness.

Thus the many web-accessible repositories result in a highly fragmented knowledgebase which in consequence complicates the development and application of bioinformatics tools for the analysis of this data.

This situation has led to  a general consensus that community wide efforts should be spent towards consolidating and systematizing the collective knowledgebase with integration of universal bioinformatics tools for both the representation, mining as well as annotation of experimental data sets to advance and interface glycomics with related genomics and proteomics projects.

Additionally, both experimentalists and bioinformaticians also expressed their demands for data reporting practices that include the comprehensive description of conditions, techniques and experimental results to enable researchers to evaluate the degree of structural definitions, to interpret the results and to reproduce the experiments.

The previous Symposia held in 2009 and 2011 brought the stakeholders in the area of glycomics together and provided a platform to discuss the role of bioinformatics in this emerging field. One important outcome was the founding of a new working group called MIRAGE (Minimum Information Required for a Glycomics Experiment) under the auspices of the Beilstein-Institut. This group has the function, with involvement of the scientific community, to draw up proposals for reporting standards for glycomics experiments and for setting up a framework to integrate glyco-bioinformatics in a comprehensive platform that will serve biologists, chemists and all interested in glycosciences.

This Symposium aims to bring together those scientists that “produce” data with those that “use” the data and make it available to the community. In particular, in their presentations speakers will deliver insights into the diverse physiological and structural subtleties of sugars.

Aspects covered by this symposium

  • structure-function relationships of carbohydrates
  • modelling of carbohydrate structures
  • modelling of interactions with other biomacromolecules
  • deciphering carbohydrate sginals


  • carbohydrate identification, annotation and analysis
  • metadata for descritpion of glycomics experiments
  • software tools for data mining and analysis

Scientific Program

Update on the MIRAGE Project
William S. York, University of Georgia, Athens, USA

How to Identify Protective Carbohydrate Epitopes in the Development of a Glycoconjugate Vaccine Against Cryptococcus neoformans
Stefan Oscarson, University College Dublin, Ireland

Galectin-1 - A Sweet Way to Fight Cancer
Jürgen Seibel, University of Würzburg, Germany

Performance of General Robust Scoring Functions for Protein-Carbohydrate Interactions
Jung-Hsing Lin, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

Semantic Web Technologies Applied to Glycoscience Data to Integrate with Life Science Databases
Kiyoko F. Aoki-Kinoshita, Soka University, Tokyo, Japan

Research-driven Development of a e-Infrastructure for Addressing Glycobiology
Niclas G. Karlsson, Gothenburg University, Sweden

Glycomics and Glycoproteomics Databases in Japan and Asia
Hisashi Narimatsu, AIST, Tsukuba, Japan

UniCarbKB: A First Year Report Card
Nicolle Packer, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Sequencing Pond Life in the Search of CAZymes
Robert A. Field, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK

An Integrated Bioinformatics and Automated Platform for Glycoanalytics
Pauline M. Rudd, NIBRT, Dublin, Ireland

Glycan Microarrays as Tools for Decoding the Glycome
James C. Paulson, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, USA

Real High-Throughput Glycoanalysis via glyXbox: A High-performance Analysis-system based on xCGE-LIF
Erdmann Rapp, MPI for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg, Germany

Automated Detection and Identification of N- and O-glycopeptides from LC-MS/MS Datasets of Glycoprotein Digests
Peter Hufnagel, Bruker-Daltonik GmbH, Bremen, Germany

Combining Computational Carbohydrate Grafting with Glycan Array Data to Define the 3D Epitope of Carbohydrate Binding Proteins
Robert J. Woods, University of Georgia, Athens, USA

Deciphering the Glycocode: The Glycoprotein Alphabet can be Decoded Using Glycoproteomics
Daniel Kolarich, MPI of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany

New Structure-function Relationships of Carbohydrates
Thisbe K. Lindhorst, University of Kiel, Germany

Finding Structural Patterns Shared Among Interacting Molecules
Ichigaku Takigawa, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan

Resolution of Glycan Complexity: The Valence Epitopes of Biological Function
Vernon N. Reinhold, University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA

Tool for Quantitative High-throughput Glycomics
Michael Tiemeyer, University of Georgia, Athens, USA

O-GlcNAcylation is a Nutrient Sensor that Regulates Signalling and Transcription
Gerald W. Hart, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

Unusual Glycans Isolated from Unusual Biological Materials
Milos V. Novotny, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA

Investigations into Glycosyltransferase Promiscuity Using Mass Spectrometry
Sabine L. Flitsch, The Manchester University, UK

Oral Poster & Software Presentations

Erdmann Rapp / MPI for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg, Germany

Catherine Hayes / Gothenburg University, Sweden

Vittoria Pinto / Novartis Vaccines, Siena, Italy

Christoph Rademacher / MPI of Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany

Giorgio Carta / NIBRT, Dublin, Ireland

René Ranzinger / University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA

Matthew P. Campbell / Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Thomas Lütteke / Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Germany

Thilo Muth / MPI for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg, Germany

Lou Gotz / Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Geneva, Switzerland

Julien Mariethoz / Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Geneva, Switzerland

Hannu Peltoniemi / Applied Numerics Ltd., Helsinki, Finland

Conference Photo Glyco 2013