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Carbohydr Res. 2003 Nov 14;338(23):2521-9.

The biosynthesis and biological role of lipopolysaccharide O-antigens of pathogenic Yersiniae.

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Department of Bacteriology and Immunology, Haartman Institute, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital Laboratory Diagnostics, P.O. Box 63, FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland.


Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the major component of the outer leaflet of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. The LPS molecule is composed of two biosynthetic entities: the lipid A--core and the O-polysaccharide (O-antigen). Most biological effects of LPS are due to the lipid A part, however, there is an increasing body of evidence indicating that O-antigen (O-ag) plays an important role in effective colonization of host tissues, resistance to complement-mediated killing and in the resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides that are key elements of the innate immune system. In this review, we will discuss: (i) the work done on the genetics and biosynthesis of the O-ags in the genus Yersinia; (ii) the role of O-ag in virulence of these bacteria; (iii) the work done on regulation of the O-ag gene cluster expression and; (iv) the impact that the O-ag expression has on other bacterial surface and membrane components.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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