1887

Abstract

Cord factor (trehalose 6,6′-dimycolate, TDM) is an unique glycolipid with a trehalose and two molecules of mycolic acids in the mycobacterial cell envelope. Since TDM consists of two molecules of very long branched-chain 3-hydroxy fatty acids, the molecular mass ranges widely and in a complex manner. To characterize the molecular structure of TDM precisely and simply, an attempt was made to determine the mycolic acid subclasses of TDM and the molecular species composition of intact TDM by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry for the first time. The results showed that less than 1 μg mycolic acid methyl ester of TDM from nine representative species of mycobacteria and TDM from the same species was sufficient to obtain well-resolved mass spectra composed of pseudomolecular ions [+Na]. Although the mass ion distribution was extremely diverse, the molecular species of each TDM was identified clearly by constructing a molecular ion matrix consisting of the combination of two molecules of mycolic acids. The results showed a marked difference in the molecular structure of TDM among mycobacterial species and subspecies. TDM from (HRv and Aoyama B) showed a distinctive mass pattern and consisted of over 60 molecular ions with -, methoxy- and ketomycolate. TDM from BCG Tokyo 172 similarly showed over 35 molecular ions, but that from BCG Connaught showed simpler molecular ion clusters consisting of less than 35 molecular species due to a complete lack of methoxymycolate. Mass ions due to TDM from BCG Connaught and showed a biphasic distribution, but the two major peaks of TDM from were shifted up two or three carbon units higher compared with BCG Connaught. Within the rapid grower group, in TDM consisting of -, keto- and wax ester mycolate from and , the mass ion distribution due to polar mycolates was shifted lower than that from the group. Since the physico-chemical properties and antigenic structure of mycolic acid of TDM affect the host immune responses profoundly, the molecular characterization of TDM by MALDI-TOF mass analysis may give very useful information on the relationship of glycolipid structure to its biological activity.

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2005-10-01
2019-11-12
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