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What is the meaning of structural integrity?


Biomolecules, to function correctly, depend on their structural integrity and stability. 

Carbohydrates are usually found in aqueous solutions as cyclic structures, for example, as pyranoside or furanoside ring types. However, under certain conditions, these rings can open to yield linear chains. The linear forms of carbohydrates are normally not found in nature.  

Chemical modifications such as oxidation of carbohydrate moieties can open the cyclic structure to create new derivatives and allow a high degree of conjugation. These changes may impact the recognition of the sugars by antibodies and cellular receptors, such as lectins, rendering them physiologically and/or immunologically useless

For example, it is known that many proteins, when adsorbed onto surfaces, can loose their structural integrity which can lead to the display of epitopes normally not exposed in the native state of the protein. The conformational state of the protein or biomolecule can dictate how biological systems react to this biomolecule.

Therefore, it is very important when developing biomolecules or bioconjugates for the production of biomaterial surfaces, as they are used in implants, to ensure the biological integrity of these biomolecules or conjugates.