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Biological and Chemical Characterization of Endotoxin from Capnocytophaga sputigena

  • R. H. Stevens
  • M. N. Sela
  • W. P. McArthur
  • A. Nowotny
  • B. F. Hammond
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1980
  • Biology


An endotoxin was isolated from Capnocytophaga sputigena strain 4 by a modification of the hot phenol-water method. The extraction procedure yielded a lipopolysaccharide which accounted for approximately 1.5% of the dry weight of the cells. The material was composed of 18.6% lipid (as C15 fatty acid), 46.5% neutral sugar including 9.6% hexose, 18.3% 6-deoxy sugar, 1.0% 2-keto-3-deoxy sugar, and 4.8% heptose. Hexosamine, protein, and phosphorus were found in quantities amounting to 9.0, 2.9, and 2.0% of the dry weight, respectively. No pentose or nucleic acid was detected. Acid hydrolysis resulted in the release of the constituent sugars and the formation of an insoluble precipitate. The lipopolysaccharide was tested for numerous biological activities characteristic of endotoxins. The pyrogenicity was relatively low; the fever index 40 was 17 μg, and 10 μg was required to give the characteristic biphasic fever response. The toxicity of the extract was very low, with a 50% chicken embryo lethal dose of 15.6 μg and a 50% mouse embryo lethal dose of greater than 8 mg. Similarly, the C. sputigena endotoxin had modest effects on leukocytes when compared with endotoxin standards from other organisms. The extract exhibited little or no mitogenicity when tested on mouse spleen lymphocytes. It was not toxic to human peripheral polymorphonuclear leukocytes and caused the release of only a small (13%) portion of lysosomal enzymes. Although the C. sputigena lipopolysaccharide caused significant activation of mouse peritoneal macrophages, the dose required was twice that of an Escherichia coli endotoxic standard. However, the Limulus amoebocyte lysate clotting activity of the lipopolysaccharide was comparable to that of an Serratia marcescens lipopolysaccharide standard, and passive hemagglutination tests revealed that 1 μg of the lipopolysaccharide was capable of sensitizing 1 ml of a 2% sheep erythrocyte suspension for agglutination with an antiserum prepared against C. sputigena whole cells.

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