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Int J Med Microbiol. 2001 Nov;291(5):345-52.

A point mutation in the active site of Legionella pneumophila O-acetyltransferase results in modified lipopolysaccharide but does not influence virulence.

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Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, TU Dresden, Germany.


The majority of clinical isolates of Legionella pneumophila serogroup 1 produce lipopolysaccharide (LPS) that reacts with monoclonal antibody (MAb) 3/1. By using a negative cell sorting method, we isolated a spontaneous LPS mutant from L. pneumophila serogroup 1 strain Corby that lost reactivity with this MAb. The mutant contained a single nucleotide exchange in position 169 of the lag-1 gene that encodes an O-acetyltransferase that is responsible for O-acetylation of the L. pneumophila O-repeat unit (legionaminic acid). This mutation resulted in a single amino acid exchange in a highly conserved motif present in many O-acetyltransferase-like proteins. RT-PCR analysis revealed that the mutant lag-1 gene was transcribed, but the resulting protein lacked O-acetyltransferase activity. Chemical analysis of the mutant LPS revealed that it lacked 8-O-acetyl groups in legionaminic acid. In addition, the mutant failed to produce high-molecular-weight long-chain O-polysaccharide. Complementation of the mutant with the wild-type lag-1 gene restored reactivity with MAb 3/1 and the chemical structure of the wild-type LPS. Strain Corby and its MAb 3/1-negative mutant were indistinguishable in their serum resistance characteristics, and in uptake and intracellular multiplication in Acanthamoeba castellanii and macrophages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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