Structure-function relationship of cytokine induction by lipoteichoic acid from Staphylococcus aureus

Siegfried Morath, Armin Geyer, Thomas Hartung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

360 Scopus citations


Lipoteichoic acids (LTAs) have been proposed as putative Gram-positive immunostimulatory counterparts to Gram-negative lipopolysaccharides. However, LTA from Staphylococcus aureus, the clinically most frequent Gram-positive pathogen, was inactive after purification. Here, a novel isolation procedure to prepare pure (>99%) biologically active LTA, allowing the first structural analysis by nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry, is described. A comparison with LTA purified by standard techniques revealed that alanine substituents are lost during standard purification, resulting in attenuated cytokine induction activity. In line with this finding, hydrolysis of alanine substituents of active LTA decimated cytokine induction. LTA represents a major immunostimulatory component of S. aureus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-397
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 5 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Gram-positive bacteria
  • Immunity, natural
  • Isolation and purification
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Tumor necrosis factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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