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J Dent Res. 2005 Jul;84(7):584-95.

Lipopolysaccharide heterogeneity: innate host responses to bacterial modification of lipid a structure.

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Department of Periodontics, University of Washington, Health Sciences Center, Box 357444, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


The innate host response system is composed of various mechanisms designed to detect and facilitate host responses to microbial components, such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS). To enable this to occur, innate systems contain multiple pattern recognition receptors (i.e., LBP, CD14, and TLRs), which identify certain features within bacterial LPS that are foreign to the host, as well as essential and uniquely specific for bacteria. Innate host identification of unique bacterial components or patterns, therefore, relies on the inability of bacteria to alter these essential or critical components dramatically. Historically, LPS have been viewed as essential outer-membrane molecules containing both a highly variable outer region (O-segment) as well as a relatively conserved inner region (lipid A). However, over the last decade, new evidence has emerged, revealing that increased natural diversity or heterogeneity within specific components of LPS, such as lipid A-resulting in minor to moderate changes in lipid A structure-can produce dramatic host responses. Therefore, examples of natural lipid A heterogeneity, and the mechanisms that control it, represent a novel approach in which bacteria modulate host responses and may thereby confer specific advantages to certain bacterial species under changing environmental host conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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