Trehalose-based oligosaccharides isolated from the cytoplasm of Mycobacterium smegmatis: Relation to trehalose-based oligosaccharides attached to lipid

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A series of trehalose-based oligosaccharides were isolated from the cytoplasmic fraction of Mycobacterium smegmatis and purified by gel-filtration and paper chromatography and TLC. Their structures were determined by HPLC and GLC to determine sugar composition and ratios, MALDI-TOF MS to measure molecular mass, methylation analysis to determine linkages, 1H-NMR to obtain anomeric configurations of glycosidic linkages, and exoglycosidase digestions followed by TLC to determine sequences and anomeric configurations of the monosaccharides. Six different oligosaccharides were identified all with trehalose as the basic structure and additional glucose or galactose residues attached in various linkages. One of these oligosaccharides is the disaccharide trehalose (Glcα1-1αGlc), which is present in substantial amounts in these cells and also in other mycobacteria. Two other oligosaccharides, the tetrasaccharides Glcα1-4Glcα1-1αGlc6-1αGal and Galα1-6Galα1-6Glcα1-1αGlc, have not previously been isolated from natural sources or synthesized chemically. The fourth oligosaccharide, Glcβ1-6Glcβ1-6Glcα1-1αGlc, has been isolated from corynebacteria, but not reported in other organisms. Two other oligosaccharides, Glcα1-4Glcα1-1αGlc, which has been synthesized chemically and isolated from insects but not previously reported in mycobacteria, and Glcβ1-6Glcα1-1αGlc, which was previously isolated from Mycobacterium fortuitum and yeast, were also characterized. Another trisaccharide found in the cytosol has been partially characterized as arabinosyl-1-4trehalose, but neither the anomeric configuration nor the D or L configuration of the arabinose is known. In analogy with sucrose and its higher homologs, ra6nose and stachyose, which may act as protective agents during maturation drying in plants, these trehalose homologs may also have a protective role in mycobacteria, perhaps during latency.

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European Journal of Biochemistry

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