- Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi causes typhoid fever. It possesses a Vi antigen capsular polysaccharide coat that is important for virulence and is the basis of a current glycoconjugate vaccine. Vi antigen is also produced by environmental Bordetella isolates, while mammal-adapted Bordetella species (such as Bordetella bronchiseptica) produce a capsule of undetermined structure that cross-reacts with antibodies recognizing Vi antigen. The Vi antigen backbone is composed of poly-α-(1→4)-linked N-acetylgalactosaminuronic acid, modified with O-acetyl residues that are necessary for vaccine efficacy.
- Lipopolysaccharides are critical components of bacterial outer membranes. The more conserved lipid A part of the lipopolysaccharide molecule is a major element in the permeability barrier imposed by the outer membrane and offers a pathogen-associated molecular pattern recognized by innate immune systems. In contrast, the long-chain O-antigen polysaccharide (O-PS) shows remarkable structural diversity and fulfills a range of functions, depending on bacterial lifestyles. O-PS production is vital for the success of clinically important Gram-negative pathogens.
- Escherichia coli serotype O9a provides a model for export of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) O-antigen polysaccharide (O-PS) via ABC transporters. In O9a biosynthesis, a chain-terminator enzyme, WbdD, caps the nonreducing end of the glycan with a methylphosphate moiety and thereby establishes chain-length distribution. A carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) in the ABC transporter recognizes terminated glycans, ensuring that only mature O-PS is exported and incorporated into LPS. Here, we addressed two questions arising from this model.
- A limited range of different structures is observed in O-antigenic polysaccharides (OPSs) from Klebsiella pneumoniae lipopolysaccharides. Among these, several are based on modifications of a conserved core element of serotype O2a OPS, which has a disaccharide repeat structure [→3)-α-d-Galp-(1→3)-β-d-Galf-(1→]. Here, we describe the enzymatic pathways for a highly unusual modification strategy involving the attachment of a second glycan repeat-unit structure to the nonreducing terminus of O2a. This occurs by the addition of the O1 [→3)-α-d-Galp-(1→3)-β-d-Galp-(1→] or O2c [→3)-β-d-GlcpNAc-(1→5)-β-d-Galf-(1→] antigens.
- Klebsiella pneumoniae is a major health threat. Vaccination and passive immunization are considered as alternative therapeutic strategies for managing Klebsiella infections. Lipopolysaccharide O antigens are attractive candidates because of the relatively small range of known O-antigen polysaccharide structures, but immunotherapeutic applications require a complete understanding of the structures found in clinical settings. Currently, the precise number of Klebsiella O antigens is unknown because available serological tests have limited resolution, and their association with defined chemical structures is sometimes uncertain.
- 3-Deoxy-d-manno-oct-2-ulosonic acid (Kdo) is an essential component of bacterial lipopolysaccharides, where it provides the linkage between lipid and carbohydrate moieties. In all known LPS structures, Kdo residues possess α-anomeric configurations, and the corresponding inverting α-Kdo transferases are well characterized. Recently, it has been shown that a large group of capsular polysaccharides from Gram-negative bacteria, produced by ATP-binding cassette transporter-dependent pathways, are also attached to a lipid anchor through a conserved Kdo oligosaccharide.
- Export of the Escherichia coli serotype O9a O-antigenic polysaccharides (O-PS) involves an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter. The process requires a non-reducing terminal residue, which is recognized by a carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) appended to the C terminus of the nucleotide-binding domain of the transporter. Here, we investigate the process in Klebsiella pneumoniae serotype O12 (and Raoultella terrigena ATCC 33257). The O12 polysaccharide is terminated at the non-reducing end by a β-linked 3-deoxy-d-manno-oct-2-ulosonic acid (Kdo) residue.
- Background: Bacteriophage-mediated seroconversion by glucosylation is currently unknown for O-antigens synthesized by ABC transporter-dependent pathways.Results: Raoultella terrigena O-antigen is modified with a glucose side chain when expressed in E. coli K-12.Conclusion: The ABC transporter-dependent pathway poses no intrinsic mechanistic barrier to phage-mediated glucosylation.Significance: O-antigen glucosylation has implications for evolution of antigenic diversity and vaccine development.