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Glycobiology. 1999 May;9(5):469-79.

Sequential deglycosylation and utilization of the N-linked, complex-type glycans of human alpha1-acid glycoprotein mediates growth of Streptococcus oralis.

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Joint Microbiology Research Unit, Faculty of Clinical Dentistry, King's College School of Medicine and Dentistry, Caldecot Road, London SE5 9RW, UK.


Streptococcus oralis is the agent of a large number of infections in immunocompromised patients, but little is known regarding the mechanisms by which this fermentative organism proliferates in vivo. Glycoproteins are widespread within the circulation and host tissues, and could provide a source of fermentable carbohydrate for the growth of those pathogenic organisms with the capacity to release monosaccharides from glycans via the production of specific glycosidases. The ability of acute phase serum alpha1-acid glycoprotein to support growth of S.oralis in vitro has been examined as a model for growth of this organism on N-linked glycoproteins. Growth was accompanied by the production of a range of glycosidases (sialidase, N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase, and beta-D-galactosidase) as measured using the 4-methylumbelliferone-linked substrates. The residual glycoprotein glycans remaining during growth of this organism were released by treatment with hydrazine and their analysis by HPAEC-PAD and MALDI demonstrated extensive degradation of all glycan chains with only terminal N-acetylglucosamine residues attached to asparagines of the protein backbone remaining when growth was complete. Monosaccharides were released sequentially from the glycans by S.oralis glycosidases in the order sialic acid, galactose, fucose, nonterminal N-acetylglucosamine, and mannose due to the actions of exo-glycosidic activities, including mannosidases which have not previously been reported for S.oralis. All released monosaccharides were metabolized during growth with the exception of fucose which remained free in culture supernatants. Direct release of oligosaccharides was not observed, indicating the absence of endo-glycosidases in S.oralis. We propose that this mechanism of deglycosylation of host glycoproteins and the subsequent utilization of released monosaccharides is important in the survival and persistence of this and other pathogenic bacteria in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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