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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 808071, 11 pages
Research Article

Glycosaminoglycan Monosaccharide Blocks Analysis by Quantum Mechanics, Molecular Dynamics, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

1Structural Bioinformatics, BIOTEC, TU Dresden, Tatzberg 47-51, 01307 Dresden, Germany
2Institute of Medical Physics and Biophysics, University of Leipzig, Härtelstr. 16-18, 04107 Leipzig, Germany

Received 17 December 2013; Accepted 22 January 2014; Published 7 April 2014

Academic Editor: Dieter Scharnweber

Copyright © 2014 Sergey A. Samsonov et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) play an important role in many biological processes in the extracellular matrix. In a theoretical approach, structures of monosaccharide building blocks of natural GAGs and their sulfated derivatives were optimized by a B3LYP6311ppdd//B3LYP/6-31+G(d) method. The dependence of the observed conformational properties on the applied methodology is described. NMR chemical shifts and proton-proton spin-spin coupling constants were calculated using the GIAO approach and analyzed in terms of the method's accuracy and sensitivity towards the influence of sulfation, O1-methylation, conformations of sugar ring, and ω dihedral angle. The net sulfation of the monosaccharides was found to be correlated with the 1H chemical shifts in the methyl group of the N-acetylated saccharides both theoretically and experimentally. The ω dihedral angle conformation populations of free monosaccharides and monosaccharide blocks within polymeric GAG molecules were calculated by a molecular dynamics approach using the GLYCAM06 force field and compared with the available NMR and quantum mechanical data. Qualitative trends for the impact of sulfation and ring conformation on the chemical shifts and proton-proton spin-spin coupling constants were obtained and discussed in terms of the potential and limitations of the computational methodology used to be complementary to NMR experiments and to assist in experimental data assignment.