Characterization of the cell surface glycolipid from Spirochaeta aurantia

Catherine J. Paul, Elizabeth A. Lyle, Terry J. Beveridge, Richard I. Tapping, Andrew M. Kropinski, Evgeny Vinogradov

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    Spirochaeta aurantia is a free-living saprophytic spirochete that grows easily in simple laboratory media, and thus can be used as a model for the investigation of surface carbohydrate structures in spirochetae, which are normally not available in sufficient amounts. Freeze-substitution electron microscopy indicated the presence of a capsulelike material projecting from the surface of S. aurantia. Extraction of cells gave two major glycolipids, the one with a higher molecular mass glycolipid was designated large glycolipid A (LGLA). LGLA contained small amount of branched and unsaturated O-linked fatty acids, L-rhamnose, L-fucose, D-xylose, D-mannose, D-glucosamine, D-glycero- D-gluco-heptose (DDglcHep), D-glycero-D-manno-heptose (DDHep), and a novel branched tetradeoxydecose monosaccharide, which we proposed to call aurantose (Aur). The carbohydrate structure of LGLA was extremely complex and consisted of the repeating units built of 11 monosaccharides, arrangement of nine of them was determined as: -[-3-β-DDglcHep-3-β-D-GlcNAc-2-β-D-Man-]- α-Aur-3-β-L-Rha-4-β-D-Xyl-4-α-L-Fuc-3-β-DDHep-4 α-L-Rha-3 which wasdeduced from the NMR and chemical data on the LGLA and its fragments, obtained by various degradations. Tentative position of two remaining sugars is proposed. LGLA was negative for gelation of Limulus amebocyte lysate, did not contain lipid A, and was unable to activate any known Toll-like receptors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1097-1108
    Number of pages12
    JournalGlycoconjugate Journal
    Issue number9
    StatePublished - Dec 2009


    • Glycolipid
    • NMR
    • Spirochaeta aurantia
    • Spirochaete
    • Structure
    • TLR

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Cell Biology


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