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Microbiology. 1994 Apr;140 ( Pt 4):789-95.

Chemical and immunological analysis of the Aspergillus fumigatus cell wall.

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Mycological Reference Laboratory, Central Public Health Laboratory, Colindale, London, UK.


Hyphal-wall preparations of Aspergillus fumigatus have been analysed by sequential treatment with KOH, nitrous acid and again with KOH. By acidification of the alkali-soluble extract, a polyglucose was precipitated which showed an X-ray diffraction pattern similar to that of (1-->3)-alpha-glucan. The remainder of the alkali-soluble fraction was precipitated with ethanol; it contained all the mannose, galactose and protein of the wall and, in addition, 6.2% of the amino sugars. This wall-associated glycoprotein, following SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting, reacted with antisera raised against several mycelial extracts of A. fumigatus. Sera from patients with aspergilloma have antibodies which recognize components of this glycoprotein. The glycoprotein nature of these antigens was shown by their ability to bind Lens culinaris lectin. In addition, the antigen/antibody binding could be disrupted by exposure of antigen to periodate oxidation, hydrolysis with dilute acid or pretreatment with a large excess of an exo-beta-D-galactofuranosidase. The alkali-insoluble fraction consisted of a covalently linked glucan-chitin complex. Nitrous acid treatment, which specifically disrupts glycosidic linkages involving glucosamine, did not solubilize much material but changed the X-ray diffraction pattern from diffuse to a pattern showing the characteristic lines of crystalline (1-->3)-beta-glucan and chitin. Most of the glucan became alkali-soluble after this treatment, and the insoluble residue appeared to contain crystalline chitin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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