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J Biol Chem. 1989 Jul 5;264(19):11093-8.

Unusual composition of peptidoglycan in Bordetella pertussis.

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  • 1Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021.


The composition of the peptidoglycan of Bordetella pertussis and the nature of its turnover products was determined by a new combination of analytical techniques: high performance liquid chromatography of an enzymatic peptidoglycan hydrolysate and fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry and fast atom bombardment collision-activated dissociation tandem mass spectrometry. Sixteen major components of the peptidoglycan were purified, and assignment of complete or partial chemical structures was achieved for nine and seven species, respectively. At this level of resolution, a previously unrecognized heterogeneity of monomeric (five new species; nine total) and dimeric species (five new species; five total) was detected. No species containing diaminopimelyl-diaminopimelic acid cross-links or lysyl-arginine substitutions were found. Previous estimates of total cross-linkage and average chain length were revised downward to 32% and 21 disaccharide residues, respectively. Detection of a chemically novel species, a disaccharide octapeptide monomer, in both the peptidoglycan hydrolysate and culture supernatant fluid, suggests that an N-acetyl-muramyl-L-alanine amidase acts on the intact peptidoglycan of Bordetella and participates in cell wall turnover. Five peptidoglycan turnover products were identified in the supernatant fluid of late logarithmic phase cultures, including the 1,6-anhydro monomeric species known as tracheal cytotoxin. Peptidoglycan turnover was detected at a low rate of approximately 10%/generation, a value sufficient to account for the generation of all tracheal cytotoxin found in culture supernatant fluids.

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