Journal of bacteriology

Comparative structural and molecular characterization of ribitol-5-phosphate-containing Streptococcus oralis coaggregation receptor polysaccharides.

PMID 19151140


The antigenically related coaggregation receptor polysaccharides (RPS) of Streptococcus oralis strains C104 and SK144 mediate recognition of these bacteria by other members of the dental plaque biofilm community. In the present study, the structure of strain SK144 RPS was established by high resolution NMR spectroscopy as [6Galfbeta1-6GalNAcbeta1-3Galalpha1-2ribitol-5-PO(4)(-)-6Galfbeta1-3Galbeta1](n), thereby indicating that this polysaccharide and the previously characterized RPS of strain C104 are identical, except for the linkage between Gal and ribitol-5-phosphate, which is alpha1-2 in strain SK144 versus alpha1-1 in strain C104. Studies to define the molecular basis of RPS structure revealed comparable genes for six putative transferases and a polymerase in the rps loci of these streptococci. Cell surface RPS production was abolished by disrupting the gene for the first transferase of strain C104 with a nonpolar erm cassette. It was restored in the resulting mutant by plasmid-based expression of either wcjG, the corresponding gene of S. pneumoniae for serotype 10A capsular polysaccharide (CPS) biosynthesis or wbaP for the transferase of Salmonella enterica that initiates O-polysaccharide biosynthesis. Thus, WcjG, like WbaP, appears to initiate polysaccharide biosynthesis by transferring galactose-1-phosphate to a lipid carrier. In further studies, the structure of strain C104 RPS was converted to that of strain SK144 by replacing the gene (wefM) for the fourth transferase in the rps locus of strain C104 with the corresponding gene (wcrC) of strain SK144 or Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 10A. These findings identify genetic markers for the different ribitol-5-phosphate-containing types of RPS present in S. oralis and establish a close relationship between these polysaccharides and serogroup 10 CPSs of S. pneumoniae.

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(±)-CPP, solid