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Wall teichoic acids (WTAs) are the most abundant glycopolymers found on the cell wall of many Gram-positive bacteria, whose diverse surface structures play key roles in multiple biological processes. Despite recent technological advances in glycan analysis, structural elucidation of WTAs remains challenging due to their complex nature. Here, we employed a combination of ultra-performance liquid chromatography-coupled electrospray ionization tandem-MS/MS and NMR to determine the structural complexity of WTAs from Listeria species. We unveiled more than 10 different types of WTA polymers that vary in their linkage and repeating units. Disparity in GlcNAc to ribitol connectivity, as well as variable O-acetylation and glycosylation of GlcNAc contribute to the structural diversity of WTAs. Notably, SPR analysis indicated that constitution of WTA determines the recognition by bacteriophage endolysins. Collectively, these findings provide detailed insight into Listeria cell wall-associated carbohydrates, and will guide further studies on the structure-function relationship of WTAs. © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Yang Shen, Samy Boulos, Eric Sumrall, Benjamin Gerber, Alicia Julian-Rodero, Marcel R Eugster, Lars Fieseler, Laura Nyström, Marc-Olivier Ebert, Martin J Loessner. Structural and functional diversity in Listeria cell wall teichoic acids. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2017 Oct 27;292(43):17832-17844

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PMID: 28912268

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