Biological and Medicinal Chemistry

Elucidation of the O-antigen structure of Escherichia coli O93 and biosynthetic aspects thereof

Authors

Abstract

The structure of the O-antigen from the international reference strain Escherichia coli O93:−:H16 has been determined. A nonrandom modal chain-length distribution was observed for the lipopolysaccharide, a pattern which is typical when long O-specific polysaccharides are expressed. By a combination of (i) bioinformatics information on the gene cluster related to O-antigen synthesis including putative function on glycosyl transferases, (ii) the magnitude of NMR coupling constants of anomeric protons and (iii) unassigned 2D 1H,13C-HSQC and 1H,1H-TOCSY NMR spectra it was possible to efficiently elucidate the structure of the carbohydrate polymer in an automated fashion using the computer program CASPER. The polysaccharide also carries O-acetyl groups and their locations were determined by 2D NMR experiments showing that ~½ of the population was 2,6-di-O-acetylated, ~¼ was 2-O-acetylated, whereas ~¼ did not carry O-acetyl groups at one of the mannosyl residues. The structure of the tetrasaccharide repeating unit of the O-antigen is given by: →2)-b-D-Manp-(1→3)-b-D-Manp2Ac6Ac-(1→4)-b-D-GlcpA-(1→3)-a-D-GlcpNAc-(1→, which should also be the biological repeating unit and it shares structural elements with capsular polysaccharides from E. coli K84 and K50. The structure of the acidic O-specific polysaccharide from Cellulophaga baltica strain NN015840T differs to that of the O-antigen from E. coli O93 by lacking the O-acetyl group at O6 of the O-acetylated mannosyl residue.

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