Although Acinetobacter baumannii has emerged as a significant cause of nosocomial infections worldwide, there have been few investigations describing the factors important for A. baumannii persistence and pathogenesis. This paper describes the first reported identification of a glycosyltransferase, LpsB, involved in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) biosynthesis in A. baumannii. Mutational, structural, and complementation analyses indicated that LpsB is a core oligosaccharide glycosyl transferase. Using a genetic approach, lpsB was compared with the lpsB homologues of several A. baumannii strains. These analyses indicated that LpsB is highly conserved among A. baumannii isolates. Furthermore, we developed a monoclonal antibody, monoclonal antibody 13C11, which reacts to an LPS core epitope expressed by approximately one-third of the A. baumannii clinical isolates evaluated to date. Previous studies describing the heterogeneity of A. baumannii LPS were limited primarily to structural analyses; therefore, studies evaluating the correlation between these surface glycolipids and pathogenesis were warranted. Our data from an evaluation of LpsB mutant 307::TN17, which expresses a deeply truncated LPS glycoform consisting of only two 3-deoxy-D-manno-octulosonic acid residues and lipid A, suggest that A. baumannii LPS is important for resistance to normal human serum and confers a competitive advantage for survival in vivo. These results have important implications for the role of LPS in A. baumannii infections.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases