A careful re-examination of the glycolipid content of clinical isolates and reference strains of the tubercle bacillus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, led to the identification of a glycoconjugate that passed unnoticed in earlier studies. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, gas chromatography- mass spectrometry and chemical degradations were used to identify the glycolipid as a 2,3,6-triacyl trehalose. The glycolipid contains a phthienoic acyl substituent, a family of multimethyl-branched, α,β-unsaturated fatty acids specific for virulent strains of the tubercle bacillus. It reacted with sera from tuberculosis patients with a specificity and sensitivity of 96.2% and 76%, respectively. Comparable data were obtained with the 2,3-diacyl trehaloses of M. tuberculosis and M. fortuitum and with the triacyl trehaloses of M. fortuitum, suggesting that the antigens from the latter species may be used for the serodiagnosis of tuberculosis.
|Journal||FEMS Microbiology Letters|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Dec 1997|
- Acyl trehalose
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis