Isolation of lipid A by acid hydrolysis of Shigella flexneri lipopolysaccharide resulted in a product that consisted of a heterogeneous mixture of bands when visualized by thin layer chromatography. Differential extraction with ethyl acetate and chloroform, or extraction with EDTA, followed by chloroform-methanol-water (Bligh-Dyer extraction), or a combination of both extraction schemes, resulted in partial purification of immunologically active lipid A. Eight fractions were purified further by preparative thin layer chromatography, and each of the fractions had phosphate, carbohydrate, and esterified fatty acids. Upon incorporation into liposomes, five of the eight purified fractions reacted with anti-lipid A serum, but the three fractions with the most number of esterified fatty acids failed to react with anti-lipid A serum. At least one fraction that originally was unreactive with anti-lipid A serum became reactive as a hapten inhibitor upon removal of esterified fatty acids by alkaline hydrolysis. Alkali-treated fractions from “unreactive” and “reactive” lipid A had similar activities as hapten inhibitors. Our data suggest that lipid A can exist in multiple forms that differ by the number and placement, and possibly by the type, of fatty acids linked to the carbohydrate of lipid A. Highly acylated forms of lipid A do not react with antiserum against the unpurified lipid A mixture, but removal of fatty acids does expose immunoreactive groups.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.