Lipid rafts are dynamic assemblies of glycosphingolipids, cholesterol, and proteins that can be stabilized into platforms involved in the regulation of signal transduction. Compositional and functional heterogeneities exist in lipid rafts. Anti-glycosphingolipid monoclonal antibodies can isolate compositionally specific lipid rafts including signaling molecules from various cells or tissues. Treatment of intact cells with anti-glycosphingolipid monoclonal antibodies can induce transmembrane signaling via specific lipid rafts. Therefore, anti-glycosphingolipid monoclonal antibodies are useful tools for the analysis of heterogeneity in raft signaling. Guillain-Barré and Fisher syndromes are autoimmune neuropathies with the clinical symptom of peripheral nerve dysfunction. Lipid raft function might be impaired by the patient's anti-ganglioside antibody.
Analytical approaches in glycoinformatics can be divided into two categories: methods focusing on glycans whose base units are monosaccharides, and methods focusing on glycans at the atomic level. The former method includes glycan structure data mining, profiling analysis and recently Fingerprints, which is an application of cheminformatics techniques to glycans represented at the monosaccharide level. On the other hand, docking analysis for understanding the interactions between glycans and proteins require methods of the latter category. It has been shown that novel analytical techniques and new knowledge can be obtained by combining these independent methods focusing on glycans at the monosaccharide and atomic levels. In this manuscript, we describe the current trends in glycoinfomatics focusing on methods both at the monosaccharide and atomic levels, as well as provide perspectives for the future.