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Structure and immunochemistry of an oligosaccharide repeating unit of the capsular polysaccharide of type III group B Streptococcus. A revised structure for the type III group B streptococcal polysaccharide antigen.

Open AccessPublished:June 15, 1987DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0021-9258(18)47558-8
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      We have derived oligosaccharides from the capsular polysaccharide of type III group B Streptococcus by enzymatic hydrolysis of a specific backbone glycosidic bond utilizing an endo-beta-galactosidase from Flavobacterium keratolyticus. Enzymatic digestion of the polysaccharide produced oligosaccharide fragments of one or more pentasaccharide repeating units. On the basis of 13C NMR, 1H NMR, and methylation analyses, it was established that the smallest digestion fragment was alpha-D-NeupNAc-(2→3)-beta-D-Galp-(1→4)-[beta-D-Glcp-(1→6)]- beta-D-GlcpNAc-(1→3)-beta-D-Gal. The isolation of this oligosaccharide is consistent with the susceptibility of the beta-D-Galp-(1→4)-beta-D-Glcp linkage in the backbone of the type III group B streptococcal polysaccharide and confirms that the polysaccharide is composed of a pentasaccharide repeating unit. High resolution 13C NMR spectroscopic studies indicated that, as in the case of the pentasaccharide, the terminal sialic acid residues of the type III group B streptococcal polysaccharide were linked to O-3 and not to O-6 of its branch beta-D-galactopyranosyl residues as had been previously reported (Jennings, H. J., Rosell, K.-G., and Kasper, D. L. (1980) Can. J. Chem. 58, 112-120). This linkage was confirmed in an independent methylation analysis of the type III group B streptococcal polysaccharide. Thin layer chromatogram binding assay and radioactive antigen binding assays with radiolabeled oligosaccharides demonstrated the single repeating unit pentasaccharide oligosaccharide to be poorly antigenic. Increasing oligosaccharide size to a decasaccharide consisting of two repeating units resulted in an 8-fold increase in antigen binding in the direct radioactive antigen binding assay. The results suggest that a region of the immunodeterminant site critical for antibody binding is located in the backbone of the polysaccharide and involves the beta-D-galactopyranose-(1→4) beta-D-glucopyranose bond.

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