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Biosynthesis of the Escherichia coli K5 polysaccharide, a representative of group II capsular polysaccharides: polymerization in vitro and characterization of the product.

  • A Finke
  • D Bronner
  • A V Nikolaev
  • B Jann
  • K Jann
Publication Date
Jul 01, 1991


Biosynthesis of the capsular K5 polysaccharide of Escherichia coli, which has the structure 4)-beta GlcA-1,4-alpha GlcNAc-(1, was studied with membrane preparations from an E. coli K5 wild-type strain and from a recombinant K-12 strain expressing the K5 capsule. Polymerization occurs at the inner face of the cytoplasmic membrane without the participation of lipid-linked oligosaccharides. The serological K5 specificity of the in vitro product was determined with a K5-specific monoclonal antibody in an antigen-binding assay. The K5 polysaccharide, as obtained from the membranes after an in vitro incubation, has 2-keto-3-deoxyoctulosonic acid as the reducing sugar, which indicates that the polysaccharide grows by chain elongation at the nonreducing end.

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