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J Microbiol Methods. 2003 Aug;54(2):143-52.

Carbohydrates and glycoproteins of Bacillus anthracis and related bacilli: targets for biodetection.

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Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.


The spore is the form released in a bioterrorism attack. There is a real need for definition of new targets for Bacillus anthracis that might be incorporated into emerging biodetection technologies. Particularly of interest are macromolecules found in B. anthracis that are (1) spore-specific, (2) readily accessible on the spore surface and (3) distinct from those present in related organisms. One of the few biochemical methods to identify the spores of B. anthracis is based on the presence of rhamnose and 3-O-methyl rhamnose as determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Related organisms additionally contain 2-O-methyl rhamnose and fucose. Carbohydrates and glycoproteins of the B. cereus group of organisms and the related B. subilis group are reviewed here. It is hypothesized that the spore-specific carbohydrate is a component of the newly described glycoprotein of the exosporium of B. anthracis. Further work to define the protein and carbohydrate components of the glycoprotein of B. anthracis could be highly useful in developing new technologies for rapid biodetection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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