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Glycobiology. 2005 May;15(5):561-70. Epub 2004 Dec 15.

Complete structural characterization of the lipid A fraction of a clinical strain of B. cepacia genomovar I lipopolysaccharide.

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Dipartimento di Chimica Organica e Biochimica, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via Cintia 4, I-80126 Napoli, Italy.


Burkholderia cepacia, a Gram-negative bacterium ubiquitous in the environment, is a plant pathogen causing soft rot of onions. This microorganism has recently emerged as a life-threatening multiresistant pathogen in cystic fibrosis patients. An important virulence factor of B. cepacia is the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) fraction. Clinical isolates and environmental strains possess LPS of high inflammatory nature, which induces a high level production of cytokines. For the first time, the complete structure of the lipid A components isolated from the lipopolysaccharide fraction of a clinical strain of B. cepacia is described. The structural studies carried out by selective chemical degradations, MS, and NMR spectroscopy revealed multiple species differing in the acylation and in the phosphorylation patterns. The highest mass species was identified as a penta-acylated tetrasaccharide backbone containing two phosphoryl-arabinosamine residues in addition to the archetypal glucosamine disaccharide [Arap4N-l-beta-1-P-4-beta-D-GlcpN-(1-6)-alpha-D-GlcpN-1-P-1-beta-L-Arap4N]. Lipid A fatty acids substitution was also deduced, with two 3-hydroxytetradecanoic acids 14:0 (3-OH) in ester linkage, and two 3-hydroxyhexadecanoic acids 16:0 (3-OH) in amide linkage, one of which was substituted by a secondary 14:0 residue at its C-3. Other lipid A species present in the mixture and exhibiting lower molecular weight lacked one or both beta-L-Arap4N residues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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