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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Endotoxin of Neisseria meningitidis composed only of intact lipid A: inactivation of the meningococcal 3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid transferase.

Lipopolysaccharide, lipooligosaccharide (LOS), or endotoxin is important in bacterial survival and the pathogenesis of gram-negative bacteria. A necessary step in endotoxin biosynthesis is 3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid (Kdo) glycosylation of lipid A, catalyzed by the Kdo transferase KdtA (WaaA). In enteric gram-negative bacteria, this step is essential for survival. A nonpolar kdtA::aphA-3 mutation was created in Neisseria meningitidis via allelic exchange, and the mutant was viable. Detailed structural analysis demonstrated that the endotoxin of the kdtA::aphA-3 mutant was composed of fully acylated lipid A with variable phosphorylation but without Kdo glycosylation. In contrast to what happens in other gram-negative bacteria, tetra-acylated lipid IV(A) did not accumulate. The LOS structure of the kdtA::aphA-3 mutant was restored to the wild-type structure by complementation with kdtA from N. meningitidis or Escherichia coli. The expression of a fully acylated, unglycosylated lipid A indicates that lipid A biosynthesis in N. meningitidis can proceed without the addition of Kdo and that KdtA is not essential for survival of the meningococcus.[1]


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