The Carbohydrate-Active Enzyme (CAZy) database is a knowledge-based resource specialized in the enzymes that build and breakdown complex carbohydrates and glycoconjugates. As of September 2008, the database describes the present knowledge on 113 glycoside hydrolase, 91 glycosyltransferase, 19 polysaccharide lyase, 15 carbohydrate esterase and 52 carbohydrate-binding module families. These families are created based on experimentally characterized proteins and are populated by sequences from public databases with significant similarity. Protein biochemical information is continuously curated based on the available literature and structural information. Over 6400 proteins have assigned EC numbers and 700 proteins have a PDB structure. The classification (i) reflects the structural features of these enzymes better than their sole substrate specificity, (ii) helps to reveal the evolutionary relationships between these enzymes and (iii) provides a convenient framework to understand mechanistic properties. This resource has been available for over 10 years to the scientific community, contributing to information dissemination and providing a transversal nomenclature to glycobiologists. More recently, this resource has been used to improve the quality of functional predictions of a number genome projects by providing expert annotation. The CAZy resource resides at URL: http://www.cazy.org/.
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