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Eur J Biochem. 1998 Jun 15;254(3):626-33.

Structure of an alpha-2,6-sialylated lipooligosaccharide from Neisseria meningitidis immunotype L1.

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Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.


The recent cloning of the lipooligosaccharide (LOS) a-2,3-sialyltransferase from Neisseria meningitidis immunotype L3 permitted us to examine other immunotypes for this structural gene. We identified the gene and measured the enzyme activity in the L1 immunotype strain which had previously been reported to lack sialic acid in its LOS because it contains a terminal alpha-linked galactose which was thought not to be an acceptor for the sialyltransferase. This finding prompted us to re-examine the structure of the LOS from the L1 immunotype, which revealed the presence of sialic acid on the terminal alpha-linked galactose. Oligosaccharides derived from the LOS were shown to be sialylated by composition and methylation analysis, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance. The detailed structural analysis showed the sialic acid to occur only at 06 of the terminal a-D-galactopyranose residue of the alpha-D-Gal-1,4-beta-D-Gal-1,4-beta-D-glc trisaccharide (Pk epitope) chain of the LOS, in the alpha-D configuration. These data are the first report of a alpha-2,6-linked sialic acid in a bacterial LOS or lipopolysaccharide, and also the first report of a sialylated Pk epitope.

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