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Biochem J. 1996 May 15;316 ( Pt 1):29-33.

Discovery of a novel protein modification: alpha-glycerophosphate is a substituent of meningococcal pilin.

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Department of Biochemistry, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London, U.K.


Pili, which are filamentous protein structures on the surface of the meningitis-causing organism Neisseria meningitidis, are known to be post-translationally modified with substituents that affect their mobility in SDS/PAGE and which might play a crucial role in adherence and bloodstream invasion. Tryptic digests of pili were analysed by fast atom bombardment and electrospray MS to identify putative modifications. Serine-93 was found to carry a novel modification of alpha-glycerophosphate. This is the first time that alpha-glycerophosphate has been observed as a substituent of a prokaryotic or eukaryotic protein.

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