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Eur J Biochem. 1991 Mar 14;196(2):475-82.

Separation of the poly(glycerophosphate) lipoteichoic acids of Enterococcus faecalis Kiel 27738, Enterococcus hirae ATCC 9790 and Leuconostoc mesenteroides DSM 20343 into molecular species by affinity chromatography on concanavalin A.

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Institut für Biochemie der Medizinischen Fakultät, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Federal Republic of Germany.


This study shows for the first time microheterogeneity of 1,3-linked poly(glycerophosphate) lipoteichoic acids. The lipoteichoic acids investigated were those of Enterococcus faecalis Kiel 27738 (I), Enterococcus hirae (Streptococcus faecium) ATCC 9790 (II), and Leuconostoc mesenteroides DMS 20343 (III). Lipoteichoic acids II and III are partially substituted by mono-, di-, tri-, and tetra-alpha-D-glucopyranosyl residues with (1----2) interglycosidic linkages. Lipoteichoic acid I is substituted with alpha-kojibiosyl residues only. Lipoteichoic acids I and III additionally carry D-alanine ester. Lipoteichoic acids were separated on columns of concanavalin-A-Sepharose according to their increasing number of glycosyl substituents per chain. It was evident that all molecular species are usually glycosylated and that alanine ester and glycosyl residues occur on the same chains. The chain lengths of lipoteichoic acid I and II vary between 9-40 glycerophosphate residues, whereas those of lipoteichoic acid III appear to be uniform (33 +/- 2 residues). Molecular species differ in the extent of glycosylation but their content of alanyl residues is fairly constant. All lipoteichoic acids contain a small fraction (5-15%) different in composition from the bulk and most likely reflecting an early stage of biosynthesis. Two procedures for chain length determination of poly(glycerophosphate) lipoteichoic acids are described.

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