Identification of the lipopolysaccharide core of Yersinia pestis and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as the receptor for bacteriophage φA1122

Saija Kiljunen, Neeta Datta, Svetlana V Dentovskaya, Andrey P Anisimov, Yuriy A Knirel, José A Bengoechea, Otto Holst, Mikael Skurnik

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52 Citations (Scopus)


fA1122 is a T7-related bacteriophage infecting most isolates of Yersinia pestis, the etiologic agent of plague, and used by the CDC in the identification of Y. pestis. fA1122 infects Y. pestis grown both at 20 °C and at 37 °C. Wild-type Yersinia pseudotuberculosis strains are also infected but only when grown at 37 °C. Since Y. pestis expresses rough lipopolysaccharide (LPS) missing the O-polysaccharide (O-PS) and expression of Y. pseudotuberculosis O-PS is largely suppressed at temperatures above 30 °C, it has been assumed that the phage receptor is rough LPS. We present here several lines of evidence to support this. First, a rough derivative of Y. pseudotuberculosis was also fA1122 sensitive when grown at 22 °C. Second, periodate treatment of bacteria, but not proteinase K treatment, inhibited the phage binding. Third, spontaneous fA1122 receptor mutants of Y. pestis and rough Y. pseudotuberculosis could not be isolated, indicating that the receptor was essential for bacterial growth under the applied experimental conditions. Fourth, heterologous expression of the Yersinia enterocolitica O:3 LPS outer core hexasaccharide in both Y. pestis and rough Y. pseudotuberculosis effectively blocked the phage adsorption. Fifth, a gradual truncation of the core oligosaccharide into the Hep/Glc (L-glycero-D-manno-heptose/D-glucopyranose)-Kdo/Ko (3-deoxy-D-manno-oct-2-ulopyranosonic acid/D-glycero-D-talo-oct-2-ulopyranosonic acid) region in a series of LPS mutants was accompanied by a decrease in phage adsorption, and finally, a waaA mutant expressing only lipid A, i.e., also missing the Kdo/Ko region, was fully fA1122 resistant. Our data thus conclusively demonstrated that the fA1122 receptor is the Hep/Glc-Kdo/Ko region of the LPS core, a common structure in Y. pestis and Y. pseudotuberculosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4963-72
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


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