Summary: A mutant of defective in mycolic acid biosynthesis was isolated following chemical mutagenesis. Fatty acids were extracted from the mutant and subjected to structural analysis by thin-layer chromatography and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) of both methyl and -bromophenacyl ester derivatives. Thin-layer chromatography did not show the presence of any fatty acid of R comparable to that of standard methyl mycolate. The HPLC profile revealed a broad peak in the standard mycolic acid ester region. No characteristic peaks of mycolic acid esters comparable to the wild-type could be resolved. Mass spectral analysis of the HPLC-purified peak demonstrated the presence of shorter-chain fatty acids in the mutant. These data support the idea that the mutant accumulates precursors of mycolic acids and is incapable of carrying out the final conversion to mycolic acids of 60-90 carbon atoms.


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