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Carbohydr Res. 2003 Nov 14;338(23):2431-47.

Structure of bacterial lipopolysaccharides.

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Equipe Endotoxines, UMR 8619 du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IBBMC, Université de Paris-Sud, F-91405 Orsay, France.


Bacterial lipopolysaccharides are the major components of the outer surface of Gram-negative bacteria They are often of interest in medicine for their immunomodulatory properties. In small amounts they can be beneficial, but in larger amounts they may cause endotoxic shock. Although they share a common architecture, their structural details exert a strong influence on their activity. These molecules comprise: a lipid moiety, called lipid A, which is considered to be the endotoxic component, a glycosidic part consisting of a core of approximately 10 monosaccharides and, in "smooth-type" lipopolysaccharides, a third region, named O-chain, consisting of repetitive subunits of one to eight monosaccharides responsible for much of the immunospecificity of the bacterial cell.

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