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Biochemistry. 1996 May 7;35(18):5937-47.

Characterization of two transposon mutants from Haemophilus influenzae type b with altered lipooligosaccharide biosynthesis.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0446, USA.


Two isogenic mutants of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) strain A2 were prepared by random m-Tn3(Cm) insertions into the 7.4-kb lsg (lipooligosaccharide synthesis genes) region of Hib DNA, which consists of seven complete and one partial open reading frame (orfs). Compared to the parent A2 strain which produces a complex mixture of lipooligosaccharides (LOS), the mutant strains 281.25 and 276.4 produced only a few LOS species. The precise locations of transposon insertions into the lsg loci of these mutants were determined (base 3546 in orf 4 for strain 281.25 and base 4402 in orf 5 for strain 276.4), and the effects of these mutations on LOS biosynthesis and epitope expression were evaluated. When the O-deacylated LOS were analyzed by mass spectrometry, both strains contained major LOS species of M(r) 2601, 2439, and 2277, which consisted of a common heptose trisaccharide core structure [Hep3(PEA)Kdo(P)-lipid A, where Hep is L-glycero-D-manno-heptose, Kdo is 3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid, and PEA is phosphoethanolamine] and four, three, or two hexoses, respectively. These species represent the smallest components of the wild-type LOS mixture. The major LOS oligosaccharide obtained from the strain 281.25 by mild acid hydrolysis was dephosphorylated and shown by composition analysis, methylation analysis, mass spectrometry, and 2D NMR studies to be a triantennary structure consisting of a heptose trisaccharide core with two glucose disaccharide branches: Hep alpha 1 --> (Glc beta 1 --> 4Glc alpha 1 --> 3) 2Hep alpha 1 --> (Glc beta 1 --> 4Glc beta 1 --> 4)3Hep alpha 1 --> anhydroKdo. Unlike the parent A2 strain, mutant strain 281.25 cannot add galactoses to the branches of this octasaccharide. Strain 276.4 is similarly deficient, except that it can still utilize a minor biosynthetic pathway leading to the addition of sialyl-N-acetyllactosamine.

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