Document Detail

Detailed structural and quantitative analysis reveals the spatial organization of the cell walls of in vivo grown Mycobacterium leprae and in vitro grown Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21555513     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The cell wall of mycobacteria consists of an outer membrane, analogous to that of gram-negative bacteria, attached to the peptidoglycan (PG) via a connecting polysaccharide arabinogalactan (AG). Although the primary structure of these components is fairly well deciphered, issues such as the coverage of the PG layer by covalently attached mycolates in the outer membrane and the spatial details of the mycolic acid attachment to the arabinan have remained unknown. It is also not understood how these components work together to lead to the classical acid-fast staining of mycobacteria. Because the majority of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria in established experimental animal infections are acid-fast negative, clearly cell wall changes are occurring. To address both the spatial properties of mycobacterial cell walls and to begin to study the differences between bacteria grown in animals and cultures, the cell walls of Mycobacterium leprae grown in armadillos was characterized and compared with that of M. tuberculosis grown in culture. Most fundamentally, it was determined that the cell wall of M. leprae contained significantly more mycolic acids attached to PG than that of in vitro grown M. tuberculosis (mycolate:PG ratios of 21:10 versus 16:10, respectively). In keeping with this difference, more arabinogalactan (AG) molecules, linking the mycolic acids to PG, were found. Differences in the structures of the AG were also found; the AG of M. leprae is smaller than that of M. tuberculosis, although the same basic structural motifs are retained.
Suresh Bhamidi; Michael S Scherman; Victoria Jones; Dean C Crick; John T Belisle; Patrick J Brennan; Michael R McNeil
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2011-05-09
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of biological chemistry     Volume:  286     ISSN:  1083-351X     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Biol. Chem.     Publication Date:  2011 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-06-27     Completed Date:  2011-09-09     Revised Date:  2013-06-30    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985121R     Medline TA:  J Biol Chem     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  23168-77     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Cell Wall / chemistry,  metabolism*
Galactans / chemistry,  metabolism*
Mycobacterium leprae / chemistry,  growth & development*
Mycobacterium tuberculosis / chemistry,  growth & development*
Mycolic Acids / chemistry,  metabolism*
Species Specificity
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Galactans; 0/Mycolic Acids; 9036-66-2/arabinogalactan

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