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Carbohydr Res. 2003 Nov 14;338(23):2731-44.

Structural profiling of lipopolysaccharide glycoforms expressed by non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae: phenotypic similarities between NTHi strain 162 and the genome strain Rd.

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Clinical Research Centre, Karolinska Institutet and University College of South Stockholm, NOVUM, S-141 86 Huddinge, Sweden.


Non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) is a significant cause of otitis media in children. We have employed single and multiple step electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESIMS) and NMR spectroscopy to profile and elucidate lipopolysaccharide (LPS) structural types expressed by NTHi strain 162, a strain obtained from an epidemiological study in Finland. ESIMS on O-deacylated LPS (LPS-OH) and core oligosaccharide (OS) samples of LPS provided information on the composition and relative abundance of glycoforms differing in the number of hexoses linked to the conserved inner-core element, L-alpha-D-Hepp-(1-->2)-[PEtn-->6]-L-alpha-D-Hepp-(1-->3)-L-alpha-D-Hepp-(1-->5)-[PPEtn-->4]-alpha-Kdop-(2-->6)-Lipid A of H. influenzae LPS. The strain examined was found to elaborate Hex2 to Hex5 LPS glycoform populations having structures identical to those observed for H. influenzae strain Rd [Risberg, A.; Masoud, H.; Martin, A.; Richards, J.C.; Moxon, E.R.; Schweda, E.K.H. Eur. J. Biochem. 1999, 261, 171-180], the strain for which the complete genome has been sequenced. In addition, sialyllactose-containing glycoforms previously identified in strain Rd as well as several NTHi strains, were identified as minor components. Multiple step tandem ESIMS (MS(n)) on dephosphorylated and permethylated OS provided information on the arrangement of glycoses within the major population of glycoforms and on the existence of additional isomeric glycoforms. Minor Hex1 and Hex6 glycoforms were detected and characterized where the Hex6 glycoform was comprised of a dihexosamine-containing pentasaccharide chain attached at the proximal heptose residue of the inner-core unit. LPS structural motifs present in the NTHi strain 162 are expressed by a genetically diverse set of disease causing isolates, providing the basis for a vaccine strategy against NTHi otitis media.

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