Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Biological Role of Yersinia Lipopolysaccharide
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the major component of the outer leaflet of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. The LPS molecule is composed of two biosynthetic entities: the lipid A — core and the O-polysaccharide (O-antigen). Most biological effects of LPS are due to the lipid A part, however, there is an increasing body of evidence also with Yersinia indicating that O-antigen plays an important role in effective colonization of host tissues, resistance to complement-mediated killing and in the resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides that are key elements of the innate immune system.
The biosynthesis of O-antigen requires numerous enzymatic activities and includes the biosynthesis of individual NDP-activated precursor sugars in the cytoplasm, linkage and sugar-specific transferases, O-unit flippase, O-antigen polymerase and O-chain length determinant. Based on this enzymatic mode of O-antigen biosynthesis LPS isolated from bacteria is a heterologous population of molecules; some do not carry any O-antigen while others that do have variation in the O-antigen chain lengths.
The genes required for the O-antigen biosynthesis are located in O-antigen gene clusters that in genus Yersinia is located between the hemH and gsk genes.
Temperature regulates the O-antigen expression in Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis; bacteria grown at room temperature (RT, 22–25°C) produce in abundance O-antigen while only trace amounts are present in bacteria grown at 37°C. Even though the amount of O-antigen is known to fluctuate under different growth conditions in many bacteria very little detailed information is available on the control of the O-antigen biosynthetic machinery.
KeywordsGene Cluster Outer Core Yersinia Enterocolitica Cationic Antimicrobial Peptide Enterobacterial Common Antigen
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