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Immunobiology. 1993 Apr;187(3-5):169-90.

The chemical structure of bacterial endotoxin in relation to bioactivity.

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Forschungsinstitut Borstel, Institut für Experimentelle Biologie und Medizin, Germany.


Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) constitute the O-antigens and endotoxins of Gram-negative bacteria. Whereas both the polysaccharide and lipid portion of LPS contribute to the pathogenic potential of this class of bacteria, it is the lipid component (lipid A) which determines the endotoxic properties of LPS. The primary structure of lipid A of various bacterial origin has been elucidated and Escherichia coli lipid A has been chemically synthesized. The biological analysis of synthetic lipid A partial structures proved that the expression of endotoxic activity depends on a unique structural arrangement and conformation. Such analyses have furthermore provided insight into the determinants required for lipid A binding to and activation of human target cells. Present research efforts aim at the molecular characterization of the specificity, modulation and biomedical consequences of the interaction of lipid A with host cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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