SUMMARY: Exopolysaccharides were prepared from cultures of four Myxococcus strains grown on solid and in liquid media, and also from the fruiting bodies. Lipopolysaccharides could be extracted with aqueous phenol from the vegetative bacteria, but were absent from microcysts. Mannose and D-glucose were present in all the exopolysaccharides and three of the lipopolysaccharides examined. Other monosaccharides identified in the exopolysaccharides were D-galactose, -acetylglucosamine and -acetylgalactosamine. The composition of the lipopolysaccharides was more complex than that of the exopolysaccharides and, in addition to the neutral hexoses and amino sugars, rhamnose was identified in two preparations and ribose in another. No lipopolysaccharide preparations contained -methyl xylose or heptose.

The polysaccharides secreted by the bacillary forms grown on solid or in liquid media closely resembled the polysaccharides isolated from the fruiting bodies, in which they provided a matrix surrounding the microcysts. Each pair of polysaccharides contained the same monosaccharides, although in slightly different proportions. Differences were found in preparations from different strains. These results suggest that in the developmental cycle of the genus considerable use is made of pre-existing enzyme systems to synthesize the precursors necessary for polysaccharide synthesis. Any specific difference between the polysaccharide produced by the bacilli and that surrounding the microcysts may lie in the fine structure, rather than in the individual components.


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