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Carbohydr Res. 2001 Oct 15;335(4):251-60.

A rapid and sensitive procedure for determination of 5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid in lipopolysaccharides of Haemophilus influenzae: a survey of 24 non-typeable H. influenzae strains.

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Clinical Research Centre, Karolinska Institutet and University College of South Stockholm, NOVUM, S-141 86 Huddinge, Sweden.


In view of the importance of 5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid in bacterial pathogenesis, a sensitive, reproducible and reliable method for the determination of 5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid levels in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is described and applied to 24 different non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) strains. The method involves analysis by high-performance anion-exchange chromatography with pulsed amperometric detection (HPAEC-PAD) of terminal 5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid residues released by neuraminidase treatment of O-deacylated LPS. The procedure is relatively fast and the instrumental effort is moderate. The results of the procedure were compared with data obtained by 1H NMR and electrospray ionisation-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). The analysis of LPS from 24 NTHi strains showed that 5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid was found to be a common constituent of LPS in NTHi. Only one strain (NTHi 432) did not show any sialylation. Molar ratios (LPS/5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid) ranged between 5/1 and 500/1. Several strains in which no 5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid could be determined by other methods including 1H NMR and ESI-MS were shown to contain 5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid by this HPAEC-PAD procedure. The method was applied to determine levels of terminal 5-N-acetyl neuraminic acid in LPS from NTHi strains grown under different conditions and mutant strains containing inactive LPS biosynthetic genes.

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