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FEBS J. 2009 Feb;276(4):1014-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2008.06840.x. Epub 2009 Jan 12.

Identification of novel carbohydrate modifications on Campylobacter jejuni 11168 flagellin using metabolomics-based approaches.

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NRC-Institute for Biological Sciences, Ottawa, Canada.


It is well known that the flagellin of Campylobacter jejuni is extensively glycosylated by pseudaminic acid and the related acetamindino derivative, in addition to flagellin glycosylation being essential for motility and colonization of host cells. Recently, the use of metabolomics permitted the unequivocal characterization of unique flagellin modifications in Campylobacter, including novel legionaminic acid sugars in Campylobacter coli, which had been impossible to ascertain in earlier studies using proteomics-based approaches. To date, the precise identities of the flagellin glycosylation modifications have only been elucidated for C. jejuni 81-176 and C. coli VC167 and those present in the first genome-sequenced strain C. jejuni 11168 remain elusive due to lability and respective levels of individual glycan modifications. We report the characterization of the carbohydrate modifications on C. jejuni 11168 flagellin using metabolomics-based approaches. Detected as their corresponding CMP-linked precursors, structural information on the flagellin modifications was obtained using a combination of MS and NMR spectroscopy. In addition to the pseudaminic acid and legionaminic acid sugars known to be present on Campylobacter flagellin, two unusual 2,3-di-O-methylglyceric acid modifications of a nonulosonate sugar were identified. By performing a metabolomic analysis of selected isogenic mutants of genes from the flagellin glycosylation locus of this pathogen, these novel CMP-linked precursors were confirmed to be di-O-methylglyceric acid derivatives of pseudaminic acid and the related acetamidino sugar. This is the first comprehensive analysis of the flagellar modifications in C. jejuni 11168 and structural elucidation of di-O-methylglyceric acid derivatives of pseudaminic acid on Campylobacter flagellin.

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