A variety of novel lipid A structures obtained from Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain

Ashley S. Beasley, Robert J. Cotter, Stefanie N. Vogel, Thomas J. Inzana, Asaf A. Qureshi, Nilofer Qureshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


F. tularensis is a Gram-negative coccobacillus that causes tularemia. Its LPS has nominal biological activity. Currently, there is controversy regarding the structure of the lipid A obtained from F. tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS). Therefore, to resolve this controversy, the purification and structural identification of this LPS was crucial. To achieve this, LPS from F. tularensis LVS was acid hydrolyzed to obtain crude lipid A that was methylated and purified by HPLC and the fractions were analyzed by MALDI-TOF MS. The structure of the major lipid A species was composed of a glucosamine disaccharide backbone substituted with four fatty acyl groups and a phosphate (1-position) with a molecular mass of 1505. The major lipid A component contained 18:0[3-O(16:0)] in the distal subunit and two 18:0(3-OH) fatty acyl chains at the 2- or 3-positions of the reducing subunit. Additional variations in the lipid A species include: heterogeneity in fatty acyl groups, a phosphate or a phosphoryl galactosamine at the 1-position, and a hexose at the 4′ or 6′ position, some of which have not been previously described for F. tularensis LVS. This analysis revealed that lipid A from F. tularensis LVS is far more complex than originally believed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)268-278
Number of pages11
JournalInnate Immunity
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • F. tularensis
  • LPS
  • lipid A
  • liquid chromatography
  • mass spectrometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


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