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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2007 Jun;18(6):1080-92. Epub 2007 Mar 28.

Structural heterogeneity and environmentally regulated remodeling of Francisella tularensis subspecies novicida lipid A characterized by tandem mass spectrometry.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


The structural characterization of environmentally-regulated lipid A derived from Francisella tularensis subspecies novicida (Fn) U112 is described using negative electrospray ionization with a linear ion trap Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (IT-FT-ICR) hybrid mass spectrometer. The results indicate that a unique profile of lipid A molecular structures are synthesized in response to Fn growth at 25 degrees C versus 37 degrees C. Molecular species were found to be tetra-acylated, sharing a conserved glucosamine disaccharide backbone, a galactosamine-1-phosphate linked to the reducing glucosamine, and multiple O- and N-linked fatty acyl groups. Deprotonated molecules were interrogated by MS(n) scanning techniques at both high and nominal mass resolution and were found to be complex heterogeneous mixtures where structures differed based on the positions and identities of the O- and N-linked fatty acyl substituents. For the dominant ion series, which consisted of five peaks, 30 unique lipid A structures were identified. Estimates for the relative abundance of each structure were derived from MS relative abundance ratios and fragment ion ratios from comparable dissociation pathways from MS(2) through MS(4) experiments. The results suggest a remodeling pathway in which the amide linked fatty acid of the reducing glucosamine favors a 3-hydroxyhexadecanoic acid substituent for growth conditions at 25 degrees C versus a 3-hydroxyoctadecanoic acid substituent for growth conditions at 37 degrees C.

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