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Ann Intern Med. 1979 Apr;90(4):624-7.

"Endotoxicity" of the Legionnaires' disease bacterium.


The Legionnaires' disease (LD) bacterium is a gram-negative organism whose "endotoxicity" appears to differ in several respects from the classic endotoxicity generally associated with gram-negative bacteria. Discrepancies were noted between the high activity of LD bacteria in gelating limulus lysate in vitro and their low pyrogenicity in rabbits. Further in-vivo biologic tests indicated that LD bacteria were relatively weak in "endotoxicity". Analysis of LD bacterial cells and in their cellular fractions by gas-liquid chromatography indicated that LD bacteria did not contain hydroxy fatty acids commonly associated with lipid A of endotoxin. The branched-chain fatty acids that were characteristic of LD bacteria were associated with the cell envelope, and were readily extracted into organic solvents without prior saponification. The presence of 2-keto-3-deoxyoctonate in LD bacteria and cell extracts was detected by a microassay method but remains to be confirmed with gas-liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. The active principle "endotoxicity" in LD bacteria may be a new type of bacterial lipopolysaccharide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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