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Soluble macromolecular complexes involving bacterial teichoic acids.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Biology


Cell wall and membrane teichoic acids from several bacteria formed soluble complexes with polysaccharides and bovine plasma in alkyl alcohol solutions. Polysaccharides which contain different monomeric units and anomeric configurations complexed with the teichoic acids, suggesting that the interaction is relatively nonspecific. Teichoic acids complexed glycogen or bovine plasma albumin in 50 to 97% ethanol solutions. The macromolecular association between teichoic acids and polysaccharides or proteins was independent of teichoic acid size over a threefold molecular weight range. Glycerol phosphates or an acid hydrolysate of teichoic acid would not complex to either glycogen or bovine plasma albumin in ethanol. The optimal interaction between glycogen and the Bacillus subtilis lipoteichoic acid occurred between pH 4.5 and 8.2. The ability of teichoic acids to bind polysaccharides and proteins in moderate dielectric constant solvents suggests that these polymers may serve as complexing agents for hydrophilic molecules found in membranes.

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