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Carbohydr Res. 2000 Oct 20;329(1):121-30.

The first description of a (1--> 6)-beta-D-glucan in prokaryotes: (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan is a common component of actinobacillus suis and is the basis for a serotyping system.

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Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ont., Canada.


The chemical and antigenic properties of the cell-surface lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) and capsular polysaccharides (CPSs) of seven representative strains of Actinobacillus suis from healthy and diseased pigs were investigated. Four strains produced a linear (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan homopolymer, beta-D-Glcp-(1-[ --> 6)-beta-D-Glcp-(1-]n -->, as a LPS-O-chain (O1) and as a CPS (K1). Polyclonal antisera prepared against a (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan-containing strain showed a positive reaction against both LPSs and CPSs derived from the above strains (designated serotype O1/K1). One strain carried the (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan solely as a LPS-O-chain (serotype O1) and two strains did not express the (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan, but, instead, produced a different O-chain (designated serotype 02); these three strains expressed their own characteristic CPSs. (1 --> 6)-beta-D-Glucan structures are common cell wall components of yeast, fungi and lichens, but, to our knowledge, this is the first time a (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan has been described in a prokaryotic organism. Conformational and nuclear magnetic resonance analyses showed that the beta-D-Glcp-(1 --> 6)-beta-D-Glcp linkage was flexible and two distinct glycosidic conformers are described. Cross-reactive antibodies to the A. suis (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan could be detected in sera from a variety of species and in sera from specific pathogen free pigs. This cross-reactivity may arise from immuno-stimulation of organisms present in the surrounding environment that contain (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan, which may also explain the high incidence of false positive results in previous serological tests for A. suis. In addition, these (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan background antibodies may be protective against A. suis infection. The characterization herein of (1 --> 6)-beta-D-glucan is the foundation for the development of a serotyping system for A. suis.

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