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Microbiology. 2002 Oct;148(Pt 10):3039-48.

Synthesis of an unusual polar glycopeptidolipid in glucose-limited culture of Mycobacterium smegmatis.

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Molecular Biophysics Unit, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 560012, India.


There has been a general understanding that Mycobacterium smegmatis produces only apolar glycopeptidolipid (GPL), similar in structure to serovar non-specific GPL of Mycobacterium avium. In this study, synthesis of polar GPL in carbon-starved M. smegmatis is reported. Mass spectrometric analysis suggests the polar GPL to be a hyperglycosylated species. The earlier structural studies of polar GPLs from M. avium have invariably shown the presence of an oligosaccharide appendage to D-allo-Thr. However, a further chemical analysis using beta-elimination of the newly found polar GPL in M. smegmatis shows that the molecule still contains a monosaccharide at the D-allo-Thr, thus suggesting a new form of polar GPL.

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