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J Infect Dis. 2010 Dec 15;202(12):1897-906. doi: 10.1086/657409. Epub 2010 Nov 4.

Variability in the lipooligosaccharide structure and endotoxicity among Bordetella pertussis strains.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Bordetella endotoxins show remarkable structural variability both among each other and in comparison to other gram-negative bacteria. Here we demonstrate that, in contrast to the common Bordetella pertussis laboratory strain and Tohama I derivative BP338, lipooligosaccharide from mouse challenge strain 18-323 is a poor inducer of inflammatory cytokines in human and murine macrophages, is greatly impaired in Toll-like receptor 4-mediated activation of nuclear factor-κB in transfected HEK-293 cells, and functions as a Toll-like receptor 4 antagonist. Comparison of lipid A and lipooligosaccharide structures of B. pertussis strains BP338 and 18-323 revealed that 18-323 (1) lacks the ability to modify its lipid A phosphate groups with glucosamine, (2) is distinct in its acylation at the C3' position of the lipid A diglucosamine backbone, and (3) expresses molecular lipooligosaccharide species that lack a terminal heptose. Our findings have important implications for interpreting previous studies of host defenses to B. pertussis infection in mice and in vitro.

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