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Eur J Biochem. 2000 Dec;267(24):7147-57.

Structures of two cell wall-associated polysaccharides of a Streptococcus mitis biovar 1 strain. A unique teichoic acid-like polysaccharide and the group O antigen which is a C-polysaccharide in common with pneumococci.

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Clinical Research Centre, Analytical Unit, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge Hospital, Novum, Huddinge, Sweden.


The cell wall of Streptococcus mitis biovar 1 strain SK137 contains the C-polysaccharide known as the common antigen of a closely related species Streptococcus pneumoniae, and a teichoic acid-like polysaccharide with a unique structure. The two polysaccharides are different entities and could be partially separated by gel chromatography. The structures of the two polysaccharides were determined by chemical methods and by NMR spectroscopy. The teichoic acid-like polymer has a heptasaccharide phosphate repeating unit with the following structure: The structure neither contains ribitol nor glycerol phosphate as classical teichoic acids do, thus we have used the expression teichoic acid-like for this polysaccharide. The following structure of the C-polysaccharide repeating unit was established: where AAT is 2-acetamido-4-amino-2,4, 6-trideoxy-D-galactose. It has a carbohydrate backbone identical to that of one of the two structures of C-polysaccharide previously identified in S. pneumoniae. C-polysaccharide of S. mitis is characterized by the presence, in each repeating unit, of two residues of phosphocholine and both galactosamine residues in the N-acetylated form. Immunochemical analysis showed that C-polysaccharide constitutes the Lancefield group O antigen. Studies using mAbs directed against the backbone and against the phosphocholine moiety of the C-polysaccharide revealed several different patterns of these epitopes among 95 S. mitis and Streptococcus oralis strains tested and the exclusive presence of the group O antigen in the majority of S. mitis biovar 1 strains.

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