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J Bacteriol. 2008 Apr;190(8):2920-32. doi: 10.1128/JB.01868-07. Epub 2008 Feb 8.

Identification of a second lipopolysaccharide in Porphyromonas gingivalis W50.

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Centre for Infectious Disease, Institute of Cell and Molecular Science, Barts and The London Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry, 4 Newark Street, London E1 2AT, United Kingdom.


We previously described a cell surface anionic polysaccharide (APS) in Porphyromonas gingivalis that is required for cell integrity and serum resistance. APS is a phosphorylated branched mannan that shares a common epitope with posttranslational additions to some of the Arg-gingipains. This study aimed to determine the mechanism of anchoring of APS to the surface of P. gingivalis. APS was purified on concanavalin A affinity columns to minimize the loss of the anchoring system that occurred during chemical extraction. (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the lectin-purified APS confirmed the previous structure but also revealed additional signals that suggested the presence of a lipid A. This was confirmed by fatty acid analysis of the APS and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry of the lipid A released by treatment with sodium acetate buffer (pH 4.5). Hence, P. gingivalis synthesizes two distinct lipopolysaccharide (LPS) macromolecules containing different glycan repeating units: O-LPS (with O-antigen tetrasaccharide repeating units) and A-LPS (with APS repeating units). Nonphosphorylated penta-acylated and nonphosphorylated tetra-acylated species were detected in lipid A from P. gingivalis total LPS and in lipid A from A-LPS. These lipid A species were unique to lipid A derived from A-LPS. Biological assays demonstrated a reduced proinflammatory activity of A-LPS compared to that of total LPS. Inactivation of a putative O-antigen ligase (waaL) at PG1051, which is required for the final step of LPS biosynthesis, abolished the linkage of both the O antigen and APS to the lipid A core of O-LPS and A-LPS, respectively, suggesting that WaaL in P. gingivalis has dual specificity for both O-antigen and APS repeating units.

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